aamcnamara: (Default)
1. I had a Readercon! I met some people I had previously known only as Internet usernames, including Leah Bobet (with whom I chatted sitting in the hall outside the very awesome and entirely too warm Interstitial party on Friday evening) and Brit Mandelo (with whom I failed to have any conversation, but waved at in passing), and saw some of those people one only sees at conventions (like Ellen and Delia, or Claire Cooney and Pattie Templeton, whose name I am probably spelling wrong), and met a couple of excellent people for the first time, and saw [livejournal.com profile] vcmw and [livejournal.com profile] aliseadae, which was fabulous.
1.5. I did not get Delany to sign my copy of Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, because apparently I left it in Minnesota.

2. I have now taken the Starburst Challenge, which means little if you did not go to the summer writing camp [livejournal.com profile] aliseadae and I attended as junior high/high school students. (We were so young then!) It is where you are given a Starburst and have to unwrap it with your eyes closed and determine what flavor it is, and it is a Thing at MITY. When I actually was at MITY, I did not know whether I could eat Starbursts. Lately I discovered that I can. So Sally and I went in together on an extremely expensive package of Starbursts from the hotel lobby shop and I took the Challenge standing on a grassy slope by the Burlington Marriott parking lot.

3. Sally and Kate polkaed down the hallways of Readercon.

4. I now have extensive notes, plus bits of actual text, on a short story and a novel, both of which I just need to sit down and draft, dammit, except that I keep not being near a computer (and when I am, doing such important things as Checking My Email And Marking All Those Emails I Saw When I Checked It At Work As Read On My Computer).

5. ... Also I got a really nice rejection on my flash fiction "Katabasis" and I intend to change a couple of things and send it out again, but I haven't yet.

6. I read some books on my commute, but I forgot to write them up for a post and lately I've been using that time to write (or, well, think about stories), so there you have it. Not totally destitute of books, but busy. (I got a library card yesterday. So there may yet be more books.)

7. Yes, this entire post is "I have a brain! Really! Sometimes! It's just buried under... things!"

8. In mad-scientist news, part of my job involves testing things at higher and higher voltages until they produce large purple sparks and stop working.
aamcnamara: (atlas)
I keep forgetting to post about this!

The March issue of Ideomancer is up--well, has been for a few days at this point. "Spring is springing – slowly – into our back yards and back closets and the backs of our brains alike. So in honour of the best new-old thing that happens all year, our March 2011 issue has three stories full of slanted spring sunlight; stories light enough to float; stories about beginnings." We also have a featured poet.

Though I tend to love everything we publish, usually the first time I read it is when I'm helping to proofread the new issue. This time, though, two of the stories ("Apology for Fish-Dude" and "Ascension") are pieces that came to me through the slush pile and which I passed up to Leah, so of course I think they're particularly awesome.

(Also, if I am allowed to veer personal for a moment, these are the first stories that I've passed up that have been bought by Ideomancer; if you have not been a slush reader, you might not know how awesome it is when you find a story that's as neat as these two are and how satisfying it is to see something you picked up and said "Hey, this is cool" about get published. I now know these things, and lo, they rock.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
The semester started on Wednesday. I am not sure how I feel about this.

Classes I'm taking are:
- Real analysis: should be interesting and teach me things--it's full of people who are about at my same math level, which rocks.
- Quantum mechanics: best class ever? Quite possibly. (I have been waiting years to take quantum mechanics. On the first day we got a thermal image of a zebra. As far as I care this class can do no wrong.)
- Second semester of Greek: more maiming! More violence! Always fun.
- Science, revolution, and modernity: a critical social thought class, which seems very interesting and also kind of intense (six books plus supplementary readings? 3-4 page paper nearly every week?), at least to my physics-major brain. But hey, readings and not problem sets, so that's nice.

I auditioned for the five-college early music program and got placed in a group. Singing madrigals! I haven't done that much since freshman year of high school, and I have missed it. (I kept forgetting to check and see when auditions were, the past few semesters.) I will have concerts to go and do, in addition to two hours' weekly practice.

[Edit: And of course working in special collections. Forever.]

In grand college tradition, I would also like to attend at least a few meetings for the Coalition for Gender Awareness this semseter--I've been on their email list since last year--and, oh yeah, try out for a play. I am going to try out for the play anyhow, which might be a bad idea but oh well. CoGA might have to wait. I seem to be cycling through all the things I want to do; I just have to hope that I have enough time to actually do all of them before I graduate.

Not helping with this: I hope to study abroad for a semester next year. I have a shortlist, just need to fill out all the forms. I do have some time on that.

Meanwhile, though, I still have physics research applications to do. I am getting through them, but I have some left--the plan is to do those today. (Also, my homework for tomorrow.) I submitted my application to the U of MN materials science REU program this morning, which I point out especially because their application webform has a box to type in for gender, not just buttons for male and female. Win!
aamcnamara: (Default)
47.3 / 47.3


As of this evening, there's one fewer novel outline on my wall. First-and-a-half draft of A Returning Power is done.

I knew for a while it would be shorter than 80k (or 70k, or 60k...), but I kept not shrinking the meter--I think because I didn't want to make myself believe I was closer to the end than I actually was. But 47.3k seems a perfectly adequate length for this novel to be, and it has pretty much all the things in it that I wanted to be in it and pretty much none of the boring and/or pointless parts.

This novel rounding out just under 50k while scores of NaNoers race on toward the finish line make me think about NaNo and me and writing. The process of redrafting this novel was way, way, way different than my NaNo process ever was. It also took much longer, taken as a whole (started this summer, finished up, well, now). In some ways I miss the scramble and particularly the community of NaNoWriMo. But (at least right now) I like this novel and I think it works in a way that I personally doubt, given my method and attitude toward NaNoWriMo, ever would have happened for me in that hurtle toward the finish line.

Which boils down to: it's true what they say. Writers really do all have different processes, and different things that work for them at one time or another.

The break was awesome--I got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] vcmw and drink lots of tea (five kinds between Friday and Saturday, and all excellent) and work on novels and talk about whatever and anything. She has the smart and also experience of the world I do not. I think she's great.

Came home to a rejection notice from Apex. Out again, small story! Out!

Now there's just one novel hanging on my wall... and that physics homework I really should be working on before I collapse into my bed. What was that you said? No, it's not due tomorrow... 'course not. Nope.
aamcnamara: (Default)
For, I'm pretty sure, the first time in my life, I went today by myself to a restaurant, sat down, ordered food, ate, paid, and left--taking extra food with me in a bag. Okay, there was a bit of stuff in there about allergies, and checking up on ingredients of things, but it was pretty low-key. And I got a salad with chickpeas (and oil and vinegar), and fried-rice-with-vegetables, and hibiscus peppermint iced tea. I could have had other things, probably, if I had wanted them.

This is... okay, maybe not the hugest thing ever, but pretty awesome. I mean, eating out isn't that fantastic of a thing--but it is a thing. A thing that Other People do. And now, apparently, me too.

Then I went and bought food and came back on the bus. My plan is to avoid the dining halls over fall break; only one is open for the duration, and it's the one that usually doesn't handle allergen-free diets due to too much traffic. The only problem is of course that I bought meat (frozen, but still) and then had to spend an hour-plus getting back due to the seven-thirty bus not showing up until seven-forty-five. I cooked it as soon as I got back, and stuck it in the fridge. With luck, I won't get trichinosis and die! That would ruin my entire fall break.

In the next four days, I hope to make a bunch of progress on the A Returning Power rewrite, start outlining the first draft of The Urban Fantasy Novel for early revision, and do some physics research. I was going to start all of this stuff tonight, but I ended up reading Sayers instead, so... I'll let you know how all those grand plans go.
aamcnamara: (Default)
We're reading The Odyssey in my classics course this semester. Using the Fagles translation, which is lovely--from reading the introduction, the epic-poetry form of Greek used a lot of different registers and dialects to fit hexameter, which makes it seem appropriate that he uses phrases like "scot-free".

The course is about mythology--"Gods and Mortals"--and even just reading the first few books of the Odyssey it's clear that the relationships are very (very!) different than I see these days. Athena is helping Telemachus out; they're visiting a king, and Athena's like "well, gotta go see to the ship, guys", turns into an eagle, and flies off. The king goes "oh em gee, it's Athena!" and plans a sacrifice for the next day. And, the text tells us, "Athena came as well / to attend her sacred rites."

That's right. The goddess shows up to the sacrifice they're making to her. But she's not All-Powerful All-Seeing, in front of whom everyone should bow. Even though the sacrifice is in her honor, she's at most an afterthought--"oh, and Athena was there, too."

Rock on, dudes. Rock on.

(Also? The audiobook version of this translation is read by Ian McKellen. Which might well be worth the money.)
aamcnamara: (dance)
Tonight at my college there is going to be a geek dance.

Once upon a time, one of my LJ interests was "dressing like Chrestomanci". (Still is, on facebook.) Chrestomanci in this case meaning Christopher Chant.

People are encouraged to go to the geek dance in costume.

You can probably see where this is going.

I already owned fancy vest and pants and shirt; I'm borrowing/stealing a piece of cloth for a cravat. (Even though it's from a different book, I fully intend to say "I call it the way I tie my cravat" at least once this evening.)

However, I had no dressing gown, and a good dressing gown really is the piece de resistance for any Chrestomanci outfit. I considered and discarded my bathrobe; it's lovely, but too simple for Christopher.

Thus, today, a trip to the Salvation Army, which turned up two gowns-for-over-pajamas. (Is there a simpler word for that concept? If there is, I am unaware of it.) Both are shiny. One is egregiously mint and the other is fuchsia with flowers in relief.

Unfortunately, there were no dragons to be had, either there or at the fabric store.

Thanks to the good offices of the same friend who drove me to Salvation Army, I now have a mint dressing gown with a fuchsia lining.

I assure you: there will be pictures.
aamcnamara: (dance)
So, ah, this is where I'll be working for the next year.

Let me highlight a few key points for you:
"...over 200 illustrated editions of the Divina commedia of Dante Aligheiri (1265-1321) representing artists from 1481 to the present. The artists range from anonymous engravers to well-known artists such as Salvador Dali, William Blake and Sandro Botticelli."

"The [juvenile books] collection now consists of over 1,600 volumes, spanning 1797-present."

"The [Renaissance Science] collection features a selection of important herbals and mathematical writings from ca. 1540 to ca. 1680."

As well as the college founder's papers, clippings related to alumns going back almost to the beginning of the college...

They have those shelves that move to store more books in a smaller amount of space. (They still have the hand-crank ones.) They have things that aren't really books, and things that aren't books at all, and books still cataloged under the Cutter classification system.

I think I'm going to like this job--no, scratch that. I am going to love this job.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Today a friend and I went to the Walker Art Center Free Thursdays thing. They always have some sort of event, too. This week it was reinventing and recycling toys, so they had all these toy bits and you could put them together with glue guns.

I only burned my fingers with the glue gun twice! And only one of those grew a blister, which has even now stopped hurting.

The resultant toy, anyway, turned out to be a butterfly-dog-bear-cthulhu-something that glows monster.

So life is good, and I have one of these:



(Awww. Isn't it cute?)
aamcnamara: (dance)
So this is not a novel post! But it's a writing post.

AnthologyBuilder is having a contest which I fully intend to enter. Seeing as how they have a teen division, and I like contests that have teen divisions. I like them very much. They want entries to be inspired by their gallery of cover images. I have not written a new short story (well, except for that one, and it was terrible) since Odyssey, so this intrigued me.

Last night after I finished novelling I went through their cover images and downloaded the ones that poked me with something. Then I started a file of the things that they poked me with: first lines, world ideas, characters... I'm not sure if they have a really rockin' gallery of cover images, or if my brain was just really bored working on the novel and jumped at the chance to come up with Something New!. Either way, I am well and truly pleased.

Today after finishing novelling, I started story files for the ones that I had first lines of, and also one which I had a world and a title for. So far, the latter story has three paragraphs and a first line of its own, and I think I can keep going.

One of the things that makes me the happiest about is that it's a science fiction story, which I don't get very often. Sort of a bad-science science fiction story, but I'll take what I can get.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Victory, victory, victory. I wrote a first draft of a short story this past weekend. It's not a terribly good draft, or story, but it is a first draft of a new story, and it's complete, and sometimes that's what counts. I have a few ideas on how I can start to revise it, too. These have partially been put off until I don't have to go to school any more. (That is, until Thursday. That is to say the day after tomorrow. Ack.)

I always thought I would be one of those people who disliked high school without exception, who were relieved and glad and happy to get out. And to a certain extent I am. But there are pieces of this place that I will carry with me forever.

Today in theater class I did a 'senior farewell' piece. I might post it here when I type it up. It's said that anything that goes up on the Internet can never be taken down again, and I kind of like the idea of that piece going out and on into forever.

Also, on a less maudlin and self-centered note, the June issue of Ideomancer is up. I did not help edit this one, but it's awesome anyway. (Okay, maybe a little bit of self-centeredness.) You should go read it.

Note: strawberry popsicles are awesome.

August 2015

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