Incidents and accidents, hints and allegations...but mostly, John Crowley!

This is going to be a hellaceously sloppy entry, I know that already. I want to link to several things, but I'm tired -- too tired to make properly coded, streamlined links, so the URL's are going to be flopping around on the page, all their naughty bits exposed.

There has been so much going on, some of it good, much of it not, a great deal of it simply...new and strange. I am sorry to be such a cryptic tease, I really am. However, I have a notion of what my revelatory post should be like, and I am like a pit-bull with notions once they enter my head. My notion is that the revelation must include a large chunk of difficult history: difficult in that it was difficult to live, and difficult in that it will be difficult to relate. I know I can do it -- I have some of it written in my head already -- but that post will take time to write and all kinds of mental, emotional, and physical energy that I simply don't have at the moment. In three weeks, I'm taking a vacation but only have plans to get away for a couple of days -- the rest of the time (one week off from work), will simply be spent puttering about and recharging. If I haven't done so before then, I will write the post during my vacation.

Now, on to pure, geeky, esoteric literary fangirl orgasmic glee! John Crowley is one of my favorite writers -- perhaps the favorite. There's only one person on my friends list that I know for sure is also a fan of Crowley, but I'm not sure if he (this friend) even reads me anymore. I suspect not, as I haven't heard a peep from him in quite some time. As for the rest of you...John Crowley is the most unsung, undeservedly unknown, undiscovered gem of a writer of which I know. It pains me how few people register recognition when I mention his name, but I know there's a small, rabid cult of Crowley fans out there -- I just haven't met any in real life.

I'd read all John Crowley's fiction except for his last two novels. The Translator came out in 2002. I became aware of it sometime after that, but didn't feel moved to pick it up. I don't know why. I had some idea that it was a departure from his previous novels, and, I was also disappointed by Daemonomania, the last book I'd read by him. But, recently, while strolling around the stacks of the Alameda Free Library (love that name), armed with my brand new library card, I wandered over to Mr. Crowley's works and picked up both The Translator and Lord Byron's Novel.

I finished The Translator two days ago and...this is where I want to insert expletives, adjectives and adverbs that can somehow describe how wonderful this novel was -- no, not wonderful -- beautiful in a heart-rending way, the way the Himalayas are at sunrise -- and what a genius John Crowley is, what an exquisite craftsman, but all I can really do is offer you a picture of me crossing my arms wrist over wrist as I press them against my body, which is what I do when I feel inexpressible love for something or someone, like this.

I'm a little ways into Lord Byron's Novel and I love it just as much.

Today, having "rediscovered" John Crowley, I went on a little Google hunt, and I discovered two wonderful things:

One: John Crowley has a livejournal!!!!!: http://crowleycrow.livejournal.com/

Two: This spring will see a special publication, by subscription only, of a 25th anniversary edition of John Crowley's novel Little, Big. Information is here: http://littlebig25.com/

Both of these things fill me with almost unbearable delight.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot one!
Endless Things, the fourth and final novel in the AEgypt series, is also coming out this spring!

"She's decent. *That's* her quirk."

Oh, cushy Transbay buses, how I love you. No one believes me when I say that I now love my commute. Many of the buses on the transbay route, especially in the morning, are gleaming new coaches. They have only four seats per row, two on either side of the aisle. These are individual seats, not benches. They're padded and upholstered. They recline. The bus has reading lights above each seat. These buses are never full, and they're usually dead quiet. Also, the ACTransit drivers are unfailingly polite and helpful. Bye, bye, MUNI, I miss you not.

Oh, and my route goes over the Bay Bridge, so in the morning, I have sunlight on the water, or the TransAmerica pyramid looming from the fog, and in the evening, all the lights of Oakland reflected in the bay, *Sigh* I do love my new home.

Tonight, on my ride home, I cracked "Tales of the City" for the second time. I'd read the entire series right before I moved to San Francisco. I was hoping I'd find my own Mrs. Madrigal when I moved here (the quote in my subject line is about her). *Sigh and sigh again* Haven't found her yet.

I love Armistead Maupin's writing: arch and warm at the time. I wish that anything near that stylistic balance had been achieved by Susanna Clarke in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. What an overpraised heap of contrived hooey. The Time reviewer said:

Ravishing...superb...combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece...that rivals Tolkien.

Um...no. First of all, Austen wrote with -- here it is again -- warmth, insight, and affection for her characters, much like Maupin. Tolkien knew how to tell a compelling story AND, once again, create heroes the reader CARES about. Clark fails miserably at that. Strange and Norrell seems like it was a marketing cross-pollination first, a novel second. Despite all the comparisons to Austen, it reminded me much more of A.S. Byatt's Possession in structure -- it has allusions to (fictional) older texts, complete with pages of marginalia -- mashed together with a Potter-like world in which magic intrudes intermittently. The damn book is 800 pages long! I stuck with it for 200 pages, by which point the second character, Jonathan Strange, had not even been introduced. The writing was often clunky, Mr. Norrell was an inconsistent character, colorless, and largely unlikeable, and he was off the stage for chapters at a time while the novel followed secondary characters through interminable subplots that were, for the most part, boring. Read the Amazon review pages for the straight poop. There are plenty of favorable reviews there, but there are also many folks who feel just like I do.

Hmmm, another Friday night alone. I alternate between an odd, itchy thought that I should feel bad about this, and a wonderfully sensuous fatigue. I was so cold today! The Bay area is having record lows and unfortunately, the old building where I work was built for a climate that's typically mild. The heating system seems largely ineffectual. Eventually, I was working in my coat, scarf and gloves, with a neighbor's coat thrown over my legs (I've asked twice for a space heater, but apparently, the wiring around the cubicles can't handle them). By the end of the day, my neck and shoulders ached as if I'd been hunching them against the cold. I do tend to feel the cold more than most folks.

Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was run a hot, hot bath. I soaked for a while, and read a girly magazine. Then, I got out, put on my robe, and read LJ for a while. Then, I got back into the tub, where the water was no longer HOT but deliciously warm. Then, I simply stretched out and...luxuriated. It felt so good to be in my body and enjoy my body. I felt primal and animalistic. I swirled my hand slowly through the water, making patterns in the suds. For no reason at all, I licked my shoulder, like a cat. It tasted salty from the bubble bath. The water's still in the tub. When I'm done with this post, I think I'll go back and see if the water still has some heat left.

Adam is out with folks from work, I've no doubt. It makes me a little sad, how his work friends never became my work friends. Adam has called me every night since we broke up. He asked me to go see a movie last Saturday, and I went, but we each paid for own ticket. I met him at the theater, we saw the movie, then we went our separate ways - and he called me when he got home. It's nice that we're still close, but a little confusing.

Oh, my LJ friends, I can't believe I've written this calm, meandering little post when I'm bursting with news! Two weeks ago, I stumbled across something. I may have...discovered something about myself that makes me see myself -- my life -- in an entirely different light. I've been writing posts in my head about this discovery, trying to think how to convey how revolutionary this might prove to be.

I'm too tired, now, though, to even attempt to string those thoughts together.

I know. I know. I promise to do it soon...

I am the nudged

Hey. How ya' doin? How does this thing work again?

One of you "nudged" me several weeks ago. Thank you for that. Really. Somehow, I fell out of the habit of LJ. This was part of a larger pattern of withdrawal and isolation from everyone but my boyfriend. Why that happened, I don't know (yes, I'm as insightful as ever) -- 'cause, on the whole, I've been happy!

Then, layers of guilt accumulated around the very thought of LJ, and I just couldn't seem to approach it. Tonight, it seemed easy. Another mystery.

I've been catching up on your last few entries. I realize now -- I missed you guys!!! I'll try to make this a daily thing again, and when I feel up to speed, I'll start commenting.

So, with no attempt at style, in order not to procrastinate, here's what's been happening with me.

1. Adam -- I feel embarrassed, non-feminist, to begin this list with my boyfriend, but there's no denying that my relationship with Adam has marked the biggest change for me in the last year. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He's a kind, generous, great-hearted, silly, geeky, affectionate, attentive, and very sexy man. I've never been in love with a man and felt so...what's the opposite of "at sea"?...oh, yeah. Grounded. In my past relationships, my lovers have needed "space". I attempted to give it, but in that "space", my fears and insecurities bred. Adam does not need space. We talk every night, and most of the time, he calls me first. We often talk twice a night, sometimes three times. We have running conversations that are broken for our respective dinners, for a movie, for something on TV, or something on the computer. We always talk around 11 pm to say goodnight. We spend our Saturday nights together, and our Sunday mornings and afternoons.

I remember, at the beginning, how shy and awkward we both were. Now, we're deliciously comfortable with each other. He sings silly songs to his cats in front of me. Oh, yeah, he has two cats now -- a brother and sister, grey and white, now 7 months old. They were two skittering puff balls when he brought them home in April. It's been a joy to watch them grow...I remember this past Sunday with familiar pleasure. After breakfast, Adam returned to his favorite new computer game (a flight simulator), and I stretched out on his bed with my novel. Mogwai, the girl cat, soon joined me, curling up in her usual spot on my belly. Adam later left his computer and stretched out next to me. Then, Gizmo, the boy cat, jumped up on the bed to nuzzle Adam. "All mammals on the bed!", said Adam (yes, i must tell you, friends -- the fish were denied admittance). :) Then, all the mammals took a nap.

So, things are good with Adam. They're very good. There are challenges, I have misgivings fairly often. We've fought...I don't know if I would marry him, I don't know if I could even live with him, but those things have never been priorities for me. Whatever we have at the moment...it makes me very happy.

OK, there's so much more to tell, but I see that I'll have to do this in installments. Item number two will follow soon...

It's alive!

My computer lives. Like Frankenstein's monster, it has been patched together with the parts of others, and is not quite the creature it once was. It is also prone to fits of strange behavior. Unfortunately, it has yet to launch into a peppy rendition of "Puttin' on the Ritz".

It's been a fortnight of blah and blech, starting with the slopping of the water on my beloved laptop. During the obligatory trip "home" to see the family, I decided that my brother is a bigger jerk than he ever was. Some sample comments from my bro:

As I began to describe the women's environmental group with which I volunteer: "So it's a nonprofit? Fine. That tells me everything I need to know." [Spoken with an abrupt, aggressive tone which said, "Why are you wasting my time with this stupid shit?"]

When I wanted to attempt to find the owner of a car in which two little dogs had been enclosed for well over an hour, windows rolled all the way up, and with no water in sight: "It's none of your business. We're leaving!" And when I persisted, "So, what, they're dying? Give me a break! Get in the car!"

Yeah, so, he's my older brother, and therefore prone to a lifelong habit of bullying me, but couldn't some effort be made to curb his natural impulses and be, I don't know...courteous?

Then, during this past week at work...well, this deserves a post all its own, and will probably get one, but here's a brief summary:

1) I never feel more Jewish than I do at Christmastime (and I grew up in a little Midwestern town where the Jewish community was practically nonexistent).
2) I expected a city like San Francisco to be sensitive to cultural differences.
3) No, I don't consider a Christmas Tree to be a secular symbol, though perhaps I should. I'm not "bah humbug" about all things Christmas. I like "Rudolph" and "Frosty" and Snow and Heat Miser and a lot of the carols -- and a lot of the decorations! But there will never be a Christmas that I don't feel conscious with all my being of my otherness.
4) I'd already been pleased to learn that my new workplace has a "Holiday Party" not a "Christmas Party". That attempt at inclusiveness means a lot to me.
5) So, I was shocked -- shocked to the core -- when a big, gaudy Christmas tree and huge, stuffed polar bear (in a Santa hat), appeared in the lobby of my beloved, elegant, marble and brass office building. Of course, this was the doing of the building's management, not my organization, which fills only three floors of a ten-story building. There are places where I expect to see Christmas trees at Christmastime, but the lobby of my building was not one of them (there is no retail space). I shared my shock and disappointment with too many people, people who just didn't get it (and maybe you don't either). I fear I've done even more to distance myself from my new coworkers, and that makes me very sad. Sometimes, when I'm feeling something strongly, I just can't help expressing it. And I don't mean for my verbalization to be a complaint, but that's probably not clear to those on the receiving end.

Luckily, an opportunity for a brief escape just landed in my lap. I am flying to Portland, Oregon for the weekend. Thank God for email lists, 'cause that's how news reached me of the BootsnAll Travel Party. BootsnAll is a "budget" travel news and information service, very much along the lines of Lonely Planet. The email landed in my Inbox on Thursday morning, and by Thursday afternoon I had found a darn good price on a last-minute flight and a hotel room to boot. If nothing else, I am looking forward to a long, long, hot, hot...BATH! The bubble bath stuff is all packed and ready to go.

The party is on Saturday night, and my flight doesn't return until Sunday evening. So, I'll have plenty of time to visit Powell's, and the Japanese gardens. Any suggestions for things to see in Portland are most welcome.

I'm flying out tomorrow morning, and really looking forward to the chance to explore new territory. That's my favorite thing of all.

Tech Woe

Water on computer = trouble. Many thing not working anymore.

I have a notebook

I am going to store to buy a typing thing attachment

I will be incommunicado a while more *frown*

I am typing this largely by means of cut & paste

Quickly, quickly...

Must take out trash, them hop in shower. Must go back to Green Festival and man (heh) the WGGAN* booth. Not must -- want to, want to, because yesterday was Wonderful.

What a weekend of contrasts.

Friday night -- out for drinks with the coworkers in two different swanky bars (one, high atop the city, was worth the trip for the view alone). I watched the others chatting, someone launching a simple topic and someone else taking it up as if they were playing a lazy summer game of catch. Yet every time I spoke, nothing seemed to happen. Every conversational ball I launched -- no one caught. Was I hurling facts about myself? Probably -- I was nervous. Talking with them was hard. Everything I said seemed wrong.

Yesterday, for eight quick hours, at the WGGAN booth, at the festival. Interested people approached and asked who we were and what we were about. Without even thinking, I shared our mission. I watched people respond to my enthusiasm, become excited about what we wanted to do.

Talking with them was easy. Everything I said seemed right.

When I left, Mary and Mindy, the co-founders, told me I was a gift to the organization -- that I didn't even realize what I gift I was. That I had a beautiful soul. I cried, in the best way.

Oh, and during the occasional slow times, I juggled fruit!

Must dash -- happy Sunday, my LJ friends.

*WGGAN = Women's Global Green Action Network.

The web site went live yesterday!


I still want to answer some comments to my last post -- apologies to you whose comments have not been answered yet (this was a filtered post, to those of you who chose not to be part of the filter).

Excuse me -- I am tipsy.

My new boss invited me out for drinks with her and a few others.

Alas, I found that these are not my people. It was, however, nice to be out and about in North Beach on a balmy Friday evening in November (gotta love the bizarro SF weather).

This was a bad decision, the going out, given that I am dipping into savings because my job started just before a payroll and the decision was made to fold those few days into my first "real" paycheck, for which I have to wait two more weeks.

So, what with drinks and chipping in on appetizers and taking a goddamn cab home because the bus kept NOT coming and I had to pee -- well, it was really too great an expenditure considering that I had only a so-so time.

Such a relief to be home in my little cocoon.

I have to be up early to help set up the table for WGGAN (my women's green global group) at the SF Green Festival.

To paraphrase a book I love, there was too much shallow small talk tonight.

I want Large Talk.

Good night.

In case it proves in any way prescient

Last night, my sleep was full of dreams.

There was a series of nested dreams. Five or six times, I "woke" only to find somehow that I was still dreaming. Each time I "woke", I found evidence that there had been an earthquake. It must have been minor, I told myself in the dreams, since I had slept through it. However, it was strong enough to have burst my windows, cracked the ceiling, and strewn my possessions around. My answering machine (a weird, recurring motif in my dreams of late), was flashing many messages that I knew were from concerned friends and family, but I couldn't seem to remember how to work the phone.

When I woke for real, with a profound feeling of relief, I immediately went to my computer to see if there had been a minor quake the night before -- there hadn't.

Of course, the quake in my dreams should not be taken literally. I find myself wondering..

What in my life is about to be dismantled?

What do I want to shake up?