23 December 2010


Can be found here, please and thank you.

01 November 2010

Covens and Covetousness

I've spent a great deal of time in the past few days thinking about The Craft, which sadly includes neither Fairuza Balk nor Robin Tunney, but does give me the power to render my enemies hairless should I become bored and vengeful. The molotov cocktail that was The World Fantasy Convention and today the start of my very first NaNoWriMo has my brains boiling with possibility. I've realized how utterly unaccountable I've been with my first novel and the revision I'm currently mired in - sure, I'm working, but how much? - and while I realize I'm only saying this now, how very little 2K is a day when you're not thinking terribly hard about it, which is exactly what I was(n't) doing when I was writing my current draft. The process was about as organic as holding my face under the belly of a cow and opening my mouth for milk, which is to say, fucking messy.

But I'm still learning. School didn't teach me how to be a daily writer, or a publishable one. I learned how to get drafts in on time by writing them in a mad dash two days before they were due and how to take criticism, so much criticism, with grace that lasted long enough for me to escape the classroom and kvetch with my girlfriends. But, I can craft a damn fine sentence (on the third try) and I've got a lot of ideas. It's a start, which is more than I had in high school when we were chanting light as a feather, stiff as a board at drama club overnights and I was still writing poetry about boys and God.

31 August 2010

The Games Girls Play

M is playing the first Halo in the next room and I'm reminded of all the rants I've never written about my (in)glorious history as a girl. And a gamer.

I've always wanted to write about the presumption in MMOs that I'm a male, and my nerves when I log into a Ventrilo channel with new guildmates who don't know yet. I'm tempted by diatribes about Cortana and how her competency is in direct correlation with her impossibility as a sex object, but I'm sure someone else has written it first, and better, and a host of fanart on the internet utterly confirms the ability of fanboyz and girlz to objectify anything, especially when it has breasts. Besides, I would have to admit what a poor shot I am in every first person shooter ever, and that's unthinkable.

But there, I've gone and done it, and does that make for other unfathomable confessions? Like the fact that I turn the difficulty down when I just want to find out what happens in a plotline, and the boss fights are too much for me? Like the fact that I want, need, to say that I do return to them and beat them the way they should be beaten, because if I don't, it's like I'm not a real gamer? Like the guilt I feel for falling so eagerly into every trap set for me by game developers, the (literal) bones they throw in romantic opportunities, clothing customization, and the ability to collect my own virtual petting zoo of vanity critters.

What upsets me most is that I polarize these things even with the education I've had and the efforts I've made not to engender behaviors in my life away from the console and the computer and just to think, this is one kind of human, this is another. But I don't feel like I can be this kind of gamer and be a girl, like it's somehow damaging, or I'll warrant rolling eyes and glances that speak nothing but I-told-you-sos. If I'm not a badass, if I don't dig LAN parties and would rather socialize than raid, then I'm just a girl who likes playing The Sims 2.

And that's not a real game, right?

26 August 2010

Between the Sheets

There are few things more extravagant to me than buying books I haven't read yet.

Sure, there are long anticipated installments in series that I won't hesitate to drop the cash on, but an unknown, even with a shiny cover and a promising synopsis, so rarely tempts me. I don't know what this means for my future as a writer. Probably that no one should ever buy my books.

Maybe it's that I know a novel isn't something I can return, whether I've been handling it for six hours or six weeks, and unlike an ill-fitting shirt, a narrative that dives headlong into descriptions of clothing and hair the color of autumn wheat has no hope with me. I can't turn it into pajamas, and I won't give it away. That sort of garbage should never be written, let alone read. I don't even care if you enjoy it. We're probably not friends, anyway.

What inspires me to write is that I have recently purchased two books on recommendations alone, even from recommendations that I trust, and it feels almost too indulgent, too daring. I've lined them up on the shelf alongside the library books in varying states of decay, my usual source for new material. We have an arrangement, these new books and me. Running my fingers over the glossy mysteries of their covers and making promises about the sweet, curled-on-the-couch-drinking-coffee evenings we will share, my thrills are something entirely different from what new clothes could stir.

I can always convince myself to take clothes back but books, books are worth going without sleep, without groceries, without sex. Just ask my husband.

17 August 2010

In the South They Call it Supper

I'm making ground beef stroganoff for dinner. It's one of those things that we always seem to have ingredients for when I am at a loss for what to make, or perhaps is one of a very few things I feel comfortable improvising. No sour cream? Greek yogurt. Only one can of soup? Just cut it with some milk. Include liberal amounts of garlic. Done. I may feel far more confident in my culinary skills than I did a few years ago, but I still love to follow a recipe and feel a little adrift without one. I am the same with knitting and sewing patterns, and probably loads of other things I'd do better not to think about or elaborate upon lest I expose myself as the World's Biggest Bore.

Better yet, let me further expose myself. I was just thinking how delightful it will be to settle in to eat this ragtag dinner and watch The X-Files with M, and how our evening ritual of dinner and science fiction will be quite undone when we have children. Instead of talking about our days between bouts of gaming or lazily together in bed before we go to sleep, I'll want to sit down to dinner at a real table which, because my bedroom most of my childhood was actually what our dining area had been, I barely have memories of doing with my family growing up. In fact, our family dinners were a lot more like the guilty pleasures of the childless life M and I are enjoying now. I remember them with some fondness, but if I'm guilty of a hundred things, one of them is wanting what I didn't have.

Once a week, I think, as a treat for us or them or both, we'll watch television while we eat. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to have children as nerdy as we are.

16 March 2010

Ordinary, Contrary

It is not at all unusual for me to fancy myself an adulteress, to indulge in the idle and illicit daydream of what I should do in the highly unlikely and unfortunate circumstance that another man should fall in love with me. I have gone so far as to prepare a speech, a sweet, simple thing that I will no doubt recite after he has stolen a kiss, a kiss that I, dependent upon my mood at the time of the daydream, either return without thought, motivated entirely by animal need, or accept reluctantly, lips fat with guilt.

"I do like you, but I love my husband very much."

If I am feeling particularly generous, which I often am in my imaginings, a world entirely without consequences, I explain that were I not married, I would certainly pursue a relationship with said fanciable man. This is no kindness, not even in the abstract reality of my mind, but I say it anyway. I do not want to be cruel but I revel in that opportunity as much as I do in the thrill of fictional romance. I have never slapped someone for impertinence, never snuck out of my house at night for secret liasons - even though my bedroom as a girl had a door that lead immediately outside. For all my happiness I wonder if I didn't live enough before I settled, however eagerly, down.

Sometimes I think such things are better left unwritten if one can't feel sorry for them.

13 February 2010

Working Girl, or, My Mother's Daughter

I'm barely through the door home from work before I'm peeling off my tights, juggling the day's mail while I wriggle free of my bra without taking my blouse off. Following the trail of restrictive underthings discarded down the hall you'll find me, crouched at my computer desk with all available buttons unbuttoned and ties loosed, absently tugging bobby pins from my hair while I check my email. The very opposite of a woman circa 1954: for all I might covet her clothes, my husband is lucky to find me in anything other than pajamas by the time he arrives home from work.

In the parking lot of the grocery store the other day I embarrassed myself utterly when I realized that I was tugging the hem of my shirt free from my skirt, balancing reusable grocery bags and abandoning decency, trading discomfort for tactless and slovenly. My first mistake had clearly been in thinking I could go out in public after a day in the office, when even lounging is strenuous enough to require a drastic rethinking of the day's outfit.

Why do I want to write about an impulse to undress that has almost nothing to do with sex and/or feeling sexy? I feel like my mother; I remember her in the mornings before my brother and I left for school with her ponytail more Pebbles than parental, in the afternoons and evenings when we came home and she did, too, from a day serving heavy German food and heavier beers, when she seemed to race out of her uniform in favor of almost nothing else. I remember being uncomfortable with how free she was with her body - as a teenage girl one's body is the enemy, hell, mine often still is - but I never thought her behavior strange, assuming everyone's mother walked around the house naked. I can't have had the only one, as my husband can't abide my stockinged legs for memories of his mother dressing for an evening out.

My mother was my age when I was eight and scolding her for a recklessly low cut blouse. I can see now how she might've wanted to give the girls a little room to breath.