July 2009


Itch. Ouch.

In the spirit of ‘picture worth a thousand words’, let me show you why I haven’t been typing anything longer than 140 characters this month.

It’s a form of excema called pompholyx or dishydrosis; it’s heat-triggered and has no cure. I’ve never had it this bad before. Please can I have autumn now?


Which life am I on now? I’ve lost count.

There’s new writing on the way; I’ve been held up by an injured hand. Also the fact that after weeks of having nothing important to say (and feeling lame about it, too, such that I wrote a bunch of inane fluff about my dog just to be writing something), I suddenly have too much to say. I’m having trouble sorting it out into anything coherent.

While I wrestle with this, I have finally started something I’ve intended to do since I started this ‘new’ blog several months ago: retrieve the best of my older journal entries, and make them available again.

I’m reposting them without edits, except for reducing most of the names to initials. I’m also adding them under the date that they originally appeared, so you won’t see them show up as new entries here. (Not sure about the RSS feed.) You can find them by the nine lives tag, though, and there’s a permanent link on the ‘Past’ page as well.

They’re coming in non-chronological order; I’m choosing things that I think are important for some reason. In some cases — but not all — this means they’re backstory for something yet to come.



Too long for Twitter, too short for their own entries:

•   •   •

I’m reading about the cost of living in Tokyo and I make some strangled “omigod” kind of noise. Jak inquires, and I read him the bit about “$15 for a watermelon and $25 for a mango”.

Jak yelps, “$25 for a MANGO?!? We need to sell to Japan but live here! It would be the same as outsourcing to India or China, but in reverse.”

I start laughing, and he continues, as though he’s just solved all our problems in one stroke: “That’s it, we should write in Japanese!” A beat, then mock-crestfallen, “… oh wait.”

We look at each other for half a second, and then in unison cry “Michaela!” (The teenlet chose Japanese for her foreign language and is two years into a four-year program.)

While I continue to crack up, Jak elaborates, “Michaela could go to Japan and we could write it off as a business expense!” (This in reference to the class trip next summer for which she needs $2K.)

I roll my eyes, still chortling, and he grins at me. “I’m so glad you laughed. I like it when you laugh.”

•   •   •

I was up most of Tuesday night, prevented from sleep by one of my various medical conditions. In the early morning, shortly before falling into bed for a nap, I read about Google’s plans for a new operating system and, like half the Internet, mentioned it on Twitter. (Sorry, I can’t bring myself to use ‘tweet’ as a verb. I just can’t.)

When I awoke about three hours later, I had been dreaming that about mid-afternoon I realized that today was April 1, and I suddenly feared that the whole announcement was one of Google’s elaborate jokes. I pulled up Twitter and searched for any mention of Google in conjunction with April Fool’s, but got nothing. I couldn’t imagine that I was the first person to figure this out, but the date hardly seemed like a coincidence. I posted a note to the effect that I hoped it wasn’t just a gag …

A couple of minutes passed, and then my Twitter page refreshed, changing colors and layout. I had been pulled into a sort of parallel Twitter, where people who’d copped to the joke were chatting, sequestered from those who hadn’t, so as not to give anything away.

•   •   •

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read a lot of fiction these days because I’ve gotten so damned hard to please. This is doubly true for short fiction, for some reason. So when I hit a rare, rare exception, it’s worth mentioning.

I recently did some freelance editing and layout on an iPhone version of the anthology Seeds of Change, which meant that I ended up reading the whole thing. The first story in that book — “N-words” by Ted Kosmatka — really impressed me. Besides the original anthology, it looks like “N-words” will also appear in both the Dozois and the Hartwell Year’s Best collections for 2009, so I guess I wasn’t alone.

I’ve been reading Philip Brewer’s personal finance posts for over a year now while failing to notice that he’s also a Clarion graduate and skiffy author. His short story “An Education of Scars” is available online and free to read. It’s worth the time, and then some.