In March 2011, I am living in the Annex, on the first floor of a hundred-year-old Edwardian with noisy upstairs neighbours and iffy water pressure. It is perfect.

I have just finished the copyedits on my first novel, which is now going to typesetting at a publisher I didn't think I could aspire to; by midwinter my book will be in those school book fairs I loved so much as a kid. At work, I've just been promoted into the next job classification; as high as I can go unless I want to work evenings. And I don't: For someone who's been an introvert all her life, I spend an awful lot of time at concerts and readings and out at dinner and attending artsy social media geek sorts of parties. I pissed away my early twenties working 60-hour weeks to keep a roof over my head, and I've spent the last year and change resolved to make up for that now that my job and income are stable. I've had my heart broken more times in the last year than I have in the five before that, and I'm surprisingly okay with that, because it means I'm actually using the muscle again. I am planning to buy a bike.

I spend a lot of time stretched too thin, overbooked, and very tired.

I have never been more engaged with the world around me, in all its little details and oddities. I have never felt more alive.


In March 2001, I am 18, and I am a mess. I live in North York with my boyfriend, who scooped me up and moved me in four months before, after a familial falling out so severe that I can no longer live under the same roof as my parents and what at this time feels like a death blow to my chosen career (classical voice performance; yes, I was going to be an opera singer). I have my high school diploma, but I've left school one OAC credit short of a university admission application, and I'm in no real state to care about that yet; I'm so much a mess that I have no concrete idea of how messed up I am and will not for years. Ironically, this month I have found out that for my other four years of academic and extracurricular excellence, I've been named a National Book Award recipient. Later, this will get me admission at the university of my choice in under a week.

I'm working at a hippie/Indian stuff/Eastern/whatever store at Yonge and Bloor, and have vague notions of trying to move down into the city although I don't know how it can be afforded. I've left both friends and hobbies in my old neighbourhood, along with most of what used to define me in the ecosystem; I don't feel like I belong with any of it anymore anyways. I don't know who I am. I don't know where I'm going. I have always had some idea of where I was going, even if it was someone else's idea grafted onto my own head and my own wants, and I am not admitting it to myself in this day-by-day existence I'm leading, but I am terrified.

I have not yet started to write fiction again, and won't for three months. Writing is something I used to do when I was a kid because I had no friends. I grew out of it.


In March 1991, I am eight and shy and taciturn, and there are all these things floating around in my head. There's a kids' word processing program on the hand-me-down family computer, something from my father's business that he's passed on to us. I have taught myself to touch type, and I use it to write my stories down. All my stories are four pages long, because the document size the program creates is only four pages. When I start what I consider my first long-form work, even though it'll only top out at novelette length, I will write it in chapters of four pages each.

I'm good at school, but I'm bad at people. The teachers all love me, but it's souring a little since we started homework and I've immediately not wanted to do it; it's cutting into my reading and writing time. I have recently got huge red-framed glasses for the nearsightedness, but this is not why I get picked on. I spend a lot of time in the library, reading Agatha Christies and Susan Coopers. I spend recess in the back field behind the schoolyard, inspecting wildflowers and the ornamental bushes pushing wild through the chain-link fence from the backyards on the other side, and pretending myself a magic kingdom. The boy I've known since we were babies, my best friend, has recently distanced himself. I'm friends now with a girl who lives in midtown, exotically far away for me, in a house next door to her grandmother's. We pick chives from her grandmother's garden and eat them raw.

I don't know if I'm unhappy or not at this point. I don't honestly have much basis for comparison.

Under the covers at night, I turn on my flashlight and read my kids' almanac, naming the constellations and matching them with the names in the pantheons two chapters ahead. At eight years old, I am going to be a chemist. Or an astronomer. Or an archaeologist.

Someday, later, I am going to be something.


In March 1981, I don't exist yet. Not even as some cell division. And so of course, at this point? Everything's possible.


Dec. 29th, 2009 07:31 pm
Wow. Via [ profile] yuki_onna, this is apparently a meme going around:

If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do?

All comments are permanently screened - this is our secret!

That is just made of serial killers there. I didn't even need to watch five seasons of Criminal Minds to figure that one out. O.O

I mean, I appreciate the sneaking curiosity that the question engenders, and the temptation to see who replies with what potentially ooh! oh noes! sexy fun times!*, but...actually, I don't really want to know who here buys their duct tape in the economy pack at Costco.

(Right now, no matter who asked, the answer would probably be "Send you out to get me some butter chicken." It's freezing out and I don't want to walk two blocks tonight. Yes, sometimes it's just like that.)

(Okay, maybe there'd be some kitchen-cleaning going on too.)

*Which I do not share, come to think of it, because if you can only express your desire for sexy fun times with me in what's basically a fully secret rape situation, icky only begins to cover it and then we're probably not friends anymore.
I am home from work, tired, angry, and in need of fifteen professional hockey players with respectable and yet unprickly hockey stubble to cuddle me and make it go away. Barring that, I'm ordering takeout, but it means I have sadly got nothing here and all you get is a meme.


If I came with a warning label, what would it say?
This week has so far been chock full of Dayjobbery (tm). Although my dayjob is still a dayjob of unmitigated awesome, and this week has been especially awesome (guess who reported her first question period today! Guess who got to go to a farmer's market on the front lawn at lunch and score herbes de Provence bread and apple blossom honey and peaches!), the dayjob, when in full swing, is tiring. Last night I curled up with Darkman* and my knitting and sort of stared in a haze, because that was all I was good for. Tonight, well. It's 10:30, I'm vaguely behind on everything, and I'm only now starting to have a semblance of a brain again. Eesh.

So given that I have no brain and don't expect to until Saturday?

Meme. And an interesting one, this time:

Give me the title of a story I’ve never written, and feedback telling me what you liked best about it, and I will tell you any of: the first sentence, the last sentence, the thing that made me want to write it, the biggest problem I had while writing it, why it almost never got submitted to magazines, the scene that hit the cutting room floor but that I wish I’d been able to salvage, or something else that I want readers to know.

If something strikes me right, I'll probably actually try to write it. In which case all thanks and credit will be given, but y'know. Be prepared for that.

*I haven't seen it in ages. And OH MY GOD that is a bad movie. I'm still hugely fond, but. Wow. Bad movie.
Since I'm apparently not doing any work tonight (although I did pop a few sentences onto "Know Your Apocalypses!" and will claim they're just for [ profile] wirewalking), here comes a memememememe.

Ganked from just about the whole internet:

-Describe me in one word: just one single word. Positive or negative.

-Leave your word in a comment, before looking at what words others have used.

-Copy and paste the meme to your journal to find out how people describe you when limited to one word.

Back to muffin-making! Mmm, muffins.
A bunch of people have tagged me for this one. But here's the thing, the one that was going to be #1 in my answer and has ended up being the only one I've got for you:

1. I never know how to do these things. I do not actually share a great deal of myself on the public internets, not things that matter. I am a little too well-trained to wiggle my vulnerabilities or anything I especially care about in the breeze for anyone who comes along to read, and the internets tend to validate that particular tendency every couple months. There's bears in tham thar internets. So I vacillate between this urge to toss out facts that reflect the usual detachment--but may well be ultimately meaningless--and a desire to be unbearably, uncomfortably intimate; rub people's faces in the intimacy of the things I say until they recoil.

I get this urge, I think, because I suspect we know everything and yet nothing about connection around here. Shallow-intimacy; reading the top layer of the text only, perpetuated by...well, the undeniable fact that what we present to others in a public space, consciously or subconsciously, is constructed. It's image. You will see only what I want you to see, end story, even when I am confessing what purport to be dark true things. However honest we are with each other? If we only know each other through this medium, I fully expect that I don't know the half of you.

I think, if you really want to know 25 things about me? You have to talk to me about them and watch what my hands do when I mention them, or what I don't mention. Where I look away. Where I meet your eye. Where I laugh or wince. All the things I'll say that I don't mean to say, or don't say with my mouth.

Ask me yourself.

I'm sorry that I've gone and made a serious thing out of a light thing once again (can't take me anywhere), but...I find my real dark true things are not something I want to give people knockoffs of, or give away too cheap.


Jan. 21st, 2009 12:28 am
I have been poking at "Sugar" tonight, as is my duty, but between my performance appraisal at Dayjob yesterday and today's inauguration (which we were able to watch at work) and good news for friends (see: [ profile] hollailama) and contracts and books in the mail and candlelight inside with snowlight outside and strong tea and Yo Yo Ma playing Simple Gifts, I am actually, well, too happy to write that story.

No, really. It's not a happy story.

So I am trying to write another story and can't decide which. And I apparently haven't done the First Line Meme since *checks* December 2007, so I think we're due.

The Enchanted Generation: It was six-o-clock when he came home. I recall it six-o-clock because the light was coming from the west, and Lilli had just broken Mother's last good china teacup.

Saturnalia: The hour after the clocks turn back is the time for regrets.

The Patron Saint of Nothing: Catherine liked high places.
There were no mountaintops in the city of Charybdis, so she built her mansion in the trees. It was paneled in wood and walled with wood; it spiraled like a chambered dahlia, and ghost moths fluttered in its rough-hewn hallways, tasting its walls in vain.
It took her a year and a day.

Rosemary, For Remembrance: After the accident, there were things Mary forgot.

Caravanserai (working):The difference – or so say the caravanserai of the inner flats and environs – the difference between man and sand is entirely a matter of texture. The outer flats were born when rock and shell ground apart, flaking into a million million pieces, each rough-edged and distinct.
Man, they continue, was born when the world ground apart, and the only thing that holds us together is the great and spired city of Ter'etzlan.

Roof-Sheep Book (working): No first line.

Short Stories

"Bachelorette: Practical people don't wear Versace to full-moon night. But then the Pack's not practical people.

"Indestructible: (No first line, just the last and a thematic argument.)

"Know Your Apocaylpses!": The first step to successfully surviving any impending apocalypse is identification.

"The Mouthwash Story": Years later, as he lay broken on the cast iron fence of Gramercy Park while the snow fell, Puck was to remember that distant summer evening when Titania had taken him to Macy's to discover mouthwash. (This line courtesy [ profile] ccfinlay, who wrote it as a joke, and said I could have it For Serious.)

Roses My Colour, and White: There were no more roses, after the world fell.

The Right People: The Right People walk the walk. You can see it in the long click-switch of their shoes on concrete down the middle of the sidewalk on a hot summer night. They don't walk regular, one-two-one-two; they hitch; shimmy; jive. They switch up the rhythm just when you got it made; expert deejays of the street. They grin shag-teeth grins into their tiny phones with their elbows spread wide and point-jointed.
And you dance. Oh, you dance.

"When Your Number Isn't Up": The sirens didn't trouble [NAME]. People came to the [SOMETHING] Hotel to die.

"Wedding Dress": They wed her to a sailor when she refused all others, and everyone knew sailors go to hell.

"Language Lessons": Naanaa's house smells like blackberry tea on Sundays, the day Helen takes the streetcar across to Cabbagetown for language lessons.

"Rose White, Rose Red" (now celebrating six years in my notes folder): They fed you red beans and rice on the day your mother died.

"The Mad Scientist's Daughter": My first memory is the lab.

"The River God's Son": The river bore only daughters. This was a vexation.

"The Whole Story": You will never get the whole story.

"Un Annee Sans Neige": January without snow and the city trembled.


"John P. Robarts and the Dancer": For what mere book can grant a knowledge / With an impassioned gravity?

Moral: I do not write happy things. Perhaps I should read instead. :p
From just about everybody, and only because I actually have a book on my desk for once (books do not live on the desk. They live on the shelves, or the floor by the bed, or the coffee table, all things far from the desk):

1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence along with these instructions in your LiveJournal.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

"All had this led to a kind of 'arrested development' in which youth kicked its heels in frustration, denied the chance to shine, its dreams of glory perpetually deferred."

Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age by D.J. Taylor

(This being on Evelyn Waugh's view of how the pretty much total lack of career opportunity in 1920s England shaped the character of the Youth Movement, as told in a letter to his agent. Sound familiar? *g*)

I got that today in the mail. It is brand spanking new, just released, really awesome-looking, and a research book for The Enchanted Generation. Since it is too cold to go anywhere or do anything, I may start it this weekend, the prospect of which fills me with gleeeee.

Moral: the trick to doing all that research needed to write a solid historical novel? Set it in a period that the prospect of reading about gives you gleeeee. *g*
I have been fighting a deathly battle against an invading force in my sinuses since about Wednesday night, where fighting a deathly battle equals coughing up gunk, blowing gunk out of my noise, and talking in gestures where I'm not talking in a weird creaky alien voice. I'm pretty sure the tide is turning, since yesterday morning Lakism ahoy )

(For those not familiar with my personal coinages which I told only three people about: Lakism [noun]: Something nasty and TMI, usually to do with a bodily fluid or somesuch, which you immediately put on the internet. Named in affectionate honour of [ profile] jaylake, expert practitioner if not originator of the practice. Also known as "Ew! That's so disgusting! Everyone come look!".)

This means I'm sorta dumb and sleepy, never mind a little annoyed about possibly having to stay home from work tomorrow unless this crackling in my ears gets gone and my voice comes back (I like my work), and so you get a meme.

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 8, when we had an author visit at school brain tells me was either Claire Mackay and/or the writer of a book about Cabbagetown in the Great Depression? Wherein I ballsily (as was my habit at the time) informed said author I wanted to be a writer too. She actually did contact me and ask if I wanted to send something to some anthology for kids-by kids, but I think I was spooked off.
Age when I wrote my first story: 19, not counting juvenilia. Counting juvenilia, 3. It's in crayon. My mom still has it, and it displays a freakily coherent narrative arc.
Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 19
Age when I sold my first short story: 19 ("Playing the Dozens" to Ideomancer)
Age of my first professional sale: 21 or 22. It was right around my birthday, and it was actually my first two; I had acceptances come in from Strange Horizons and Realms of Fantasy inside eight hours of each other. That was a kind of rocking day.
Total number of submissions: 637. Most of them pre-2005. I've slowed down.
Total acceptances: 78
Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: 16
Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for cash money: 36. And one for free when I was first starting out, but we don't acknowledge that publication and it's been offline forever and you will never see it ahahahaha.
Age at first Year's Best reprint: 22
Poems sold: 31

Age when I started writing my first novel: 20
Age when I started writing my first completed novel: 20
Age I finished that novel: 20
Age I started my second novel: 21
Age I finished my second novel: 21
Age when I sold a first novel: Pending!
Total number of novels written: *counts off on fingers* 5. And several false starts.
Books sold: Nada. I only really did query two of those, and inside a year with each I could see why I wasn't going to sell them as-is. Those two are in a box for redrafting one of these days to fix their suckitude. And one is Above, which has yet to reach the query bit.
Books in the process of querying: None.

Age when first nominated for an award: 21, I think?
Age when first won an award: 21
Nominations: 4
Awards won: 1

Age when first applied for an arts grant: 23
Age when first got an arts grant: 26

Short stories in the slush: 6
Short stories written this year: *cough* 1. I was busy. There was a book to write and a degree to finish and a job to get and--stop looking at me like that!
Age when I became a full-time novelist: Probably never. I have noticed that I don't function well when I lack external structure to my day. So even if I land in the J.K. Rowling/Stephen King pit of money (never happen), I would at least maintain a part-time job to keep myself from going batshit and gnawing my own arm off.
Age now: 26

I'm sure that was dull edifying. :p
My nose is valiantly trying to hab a code today (well, it has been all week, but it got serious this morning) so I have stayed home from work to crush its ambitions.


Take a picture of yourself right now.
don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
post that picture with NO editing.
post these instructions with your picture.

Mmm. Dirty hair. *g*

I do admit I cheated a little and did change one item of clothing from when I read the meme on, well, everywhere, because you don't want to see me with no shirt on. And I don't want you to. Glad we're agreed on that.
After a birthday dinner last night that involved copious amounts of both champagne and a nice red wine, this is about all I'm up to:

You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

Yes I am. And hung over.

*huddles in cubicle with sammich and picks at piles of work*
Via [ profile] jbacardi:

Andrew Wheeler posted this challenge on the Very Good Taste are the rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred )

Take-home morals:
1) I live in Toronto. :D
2) I will eat nearly anything once. And many things as often as I can afford them.
3) Apparently my mnemonic system has to do with what I was eating at the time.
4) I'm knocking ten haven't-tried items off that list this year. And it's gonna be fun.
Above is set to be my first finished novel in two years or so. Stolen from [ profile] katallen, [ profile] jmeadows, [ profile] stillsostrange, and [ profile] stillnotbored, here's a list of the unfinished novels and idea-stage stuff:

Saturnalia (~600 words) This is most likely next in the barrel.
The Patron Saint of Nothing (36k) [ profile] ksumnersmith is frequently after me to pick this back up, but that would require a plot. It sits in the corner until it puts out the plot.
Rosemary, For Remembrance (15k) A direct sequel to "Lost Wax" and "The Sorceress's Assistant", about a girl who hits her head and the revolution that eventually follows. Put it down for not doing things sufficiently interesting to me, but it is likely I was being too harsh.
The Victorian Book/Pritchard (25k) I will likely scrap this for parts. It had an overarching plot that can only be charitably described as stupid.
Toronto Book 2 (71k) Well, I couldn't do much with it without selling Toronto Book the First. Although now that I'm rereading it it's not at all bad, and maybe I should.

And in the idea-and-notes stage...

The Roof-Sheep Book (250) Wherein Six and Joe and Angeline's parents, young and able-bodied, walk across Canada in the wake of the apocalypse. Why? They haven't told me yet. But it would have lots of tasty survivalist logistics. Mmm.
Caravanserai (500) Exile, desert worlds, a beautiful woman king who was once a shit disturber, ancient bone cities, and (I think) war.
The Enchanted Generation (notes) Too nebulous for me to even comment on yet.

And now I shall go to my job interview, even though the rain it raineth today of all days.

This is Above.

The nice internet toy rendered this in that font, scratchy child-hand, and I am choosing to believe that this is Matthew's hand. The more I look at this, the more it is giving me this crazy warm joy which is totally outsized for an internet toy. These, the perils of writing a book that is in many ways about story, about how all those words up there come together.

Enjoy. *g*
Haiku2 for cristalia
time and i am
making a short list of things
i have this feeling
Created by Grahame

I am, in fact, making a short list of things. I have this feeling...
January 8, 2008 Progress Notes:


Words today: 750.
Words total: 17,250 MS Word.
Reason for stopping: Quota, were I doing the quota thing. And I need to figure out some logistics and motivations.
Liquid Refreshment: French vanilla hot chocolate.
Munchies: Grilled cheese sammiches around 4:30. Of course, now that I have all the food in the world, I'm not at all hungry.
Exercise: An hour's walking -- class and back, and errands.
Mail: Contracts from Strange Horizons, and countersigned contracts from The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy.

Darling du Jour: I bought her peaches. A whole basket. Not stolen either, but bought proper, and every single one fat and sweet and kitten-soft against your mouth before you bit down. We went out into the old sewers and found a corner where it was almost fallen in, where two could huddle in close and warm without being spotted. And we ate every single one.

(Write-ahead this time, from the last chapter. Oh, that makes me want to cry.)

Tyop du Jour: N/A
Words MS Word Doesn't Know: N/A

Mean Things: Letting go. Getting lost. Trying to game the system and it not really working.
Research Roundup: Isolation guidelines in Ontario psych wards, circa 1982.
Books in progress: Stephen King, The Waste Lands; the Lattimore translation of The Odyssey; Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems.

The glamour: A lot today, actually. Workshop work, reading five books of The Odyssey, signing contracts and mailing them back, taking things to the bank, and filling out a bit of grocery holes as I desired a sammich. I finally have that bread, and I have a new 10-pound bag of rice. I am now stocked for seven apocalypses. The bag of rice alone is worth a whole apocalypse.

It's grey out, and rainy. It was evening all afternoon.

I'm pretty much discontinuing the Novel in 90-meter right now. I've only looked at half my course syllabi for this semester, and...yeah. I have no desire to Run Mad (or Amok). Let's do one thing at a time, maybe.

More reviews (are you sick of these yet? *g*) coming down the pipe:

Rich Horton likes "The Sorceress's Assistant", and gives it mention in his On Spec summary. And it's another "strong work from" in the Fantasy Magazine summary.

Crash Launching, a new review blog, dubs "Bears" a cool new thing and says other things about it to Make Authors Happy.

"The Girl From Another World" has readers in Singapore. Which is awesome.

Also, your moment of No Shit:

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Gamer/Computer Nerd
Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace
I would really like to write words sometime this fall. So we are going to have a go-round with the first line meme.

Well the stories come in these places, and the stories are all the same )

I should probably follow my own advice. When in doubt? Write about hockey. *g*
November 6, 2007 Progress Notes:

"The Ground Whereon She Stands"

Words today: 950.
Words total: 2000.
Reason for stopping: It's late. And this story moves ever so slowly, and I won't push.
Tea: N/A.
Munchies: Pizza, which may have been too soon. After the bathtub barfing incident of last month, it appears pizza still smells a little like barf to me. Bleh.
Exercise: N/A.
Mail: Nomail.

Darling du Jour: There were flowers in my mattress, curling around the springs. Ivy had strangled my alarm clock sometime before eight-forty-five a.m., and all around me, opening, were roses, roses.

Tyop du Jour: N/A
Words MS Word Doesn't Know: N/A
Research Roundup: Seasonal Vermont produce, physiology of butterflies, Vermont forestry publications, Jainism. The produce site is actually really neat, so I'm going to link it: Seasonal Produce of the American Northeast.

Mean Things: Enchantment, the inability to communicate with each other clearly, and the passive-aggressive actions that leads to. Roses.
Books in progress: Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia; textbooks.
The glamour: Nothing was especially glamorous today. I sent some queries about some poems, but really that was it.

In keeping with my lack of glamour is a decided lack of content, so here is a meme:

My Personality
Openness To Experience
You do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find yourself tempted to overindulge, however you tend to lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. People generally perceive you as distant and reserved, and you do not usually reach out to others. You prefer familiar routines and for things to stay the same. You can tend to feel uncomfortable with change. There are times when you believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary, however you are mostly candid, frank and sincere. People find it moderately easy to relate to you, however you generally see others as selfish, devious, and sometimes potentially dangerous. You are well-organized and like to live according to routines and schedules. Often you will keep lists and make plans.

Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

A wide variety of myspace layouts to choose from.

I would be interested to take this again when it's spring and the sunlight is rising, and see how that extroversion and neuroticism score looks then. That's one of the problems (aside from wankery) with the internet personality quiz: personalities exist in flux. This time of year, mine is tending to hibernation and solitude and a certain amount of depression. I would suspect myself of being a dryad if I wasn't so fascinated with fire: pulling in the leaves and shutting down for winter.

And with that, I'm blowing out the candles and tucking into bed. Goodnight, internet.
Career meme. Unsurprising results follow. )

Now that I have validated my life choices via internets, I shall roast myself a chicken.

November 2016

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