Thursday, June 01, 2006

Catching Up ...

So, Mia was wonderful at her recital. Of course I would say that, but it's true. At one point all the little girls had to pass bags of potato chips down the line until everyone had one; due to a minor mix-up, Mia ended up with two. I was afraid this would upset her, but she looked out at the audience and smiled and shrugged, eliciting an appreciative laugh from them. A minor thing, but it lit me up.

The Daddy-Daughter Dance also went well: I did not have any accidents, and when I did the leaping mid-air split my pants remained intact. I did land on that one kid, but she wasn't standing on her marking, so it was her fault, not mine. I am told she will walk again, so I don't know what everyone's getting all worked up about.

No pictures were allowed during the performance; they didn't want kids getting blinded by flashbulbs and pirouetting off the stage, which strikes me as sound reasoning.

My mother recently discovered an album of story rejections I started keeping back when I was about 20 or so ... I pasted each rejection letter on the left page and each first page of the story on the facing page. When she gave it to me I thought it would be amusing to reproduce those first pages here. Then I actually read them ....

You won't be seeing those pages.

They are bad enough that anybody who reads them will never trust me as a writer again. What amazes me is that they were written just a year or two before I got accepted into Clarion in 1992 (I know this because I recorded the copyright date on each page, complete with the carefully hand-drawn circled "c" (I note with some dismay that there is still not a copyright symbol on the keyboards)). Now, at Clarion, I remember being a barely competent beginner who got accepted, I think, because of a rudimentary ability to string coherent sentences together. I recently saw a list of titles of the stories I turned in there ... let me just say it was sobering. But, looking at these first pages ... wow. It was worse than I thought.

Anyway ... just finished a new, and I hope better, story called "The Lamentation." I'm about to finish "North American Lake Monsters," which I'd put on the backburner while I figured out some details in my head.

Nearly through reading Paul Park's A Princess of Roumania, which I had a difficult time getting into. I almost stopped reading it half a dozen times in the first 150 pages. I stuck with it partly because I've had good experiences with Park's fiction before, and partly because people like LeGuin and Crowley and Fowler gave it such high praise. I'm glad I did; once I finally settled into the book's conceit, I started really enjoying it. It's worth the effort.

Mia only has three days of kindergarten left; it's unbelievable to me. Yesterday there was an awards ceremony for the kindergarteners, and she won a good citizenship award, as well as a special award for her little saddle-stapled books, which she fills with stories and illustrations. She mis-heard "good citizenship" as "good singing," though, so she thinks she's been recognized for her wonderful singing voice. I haven't corrected her. She's about to go down to Alabama to visit her mom for the summer, and I want to hear all the singing I can:

"See you later, alligator,
Adios, cinnamon toast ... "


At 1:04 AM, Blogger Maines said...

I'll be curious to know what you think of the other two books in the Princess of Roumania series. Second one is (I assume) out, and I just copyedited the third one a few weeks ago, so that is probably months away (I was going to speculate that it would be a November title, or thereabouts, but it's not on Amazon yet, and if it were fall, I'd think it would be already). FWIW, I'm really perceiving the first book differently in the context of the entire series.

Tor is putting a big enough push behind the first one that they provided free copies for everyone at Wiscon.

A book I finished recently and really, really liked was The Necessary Beggar by Susan Palwick. But I'll babble on about that one of these days in my own blog.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Melantrys said...

Well, as long as you're not actually using a typewriter there's always ALT + 184. ;)

Glad to hear you landed on something soft after that jump then. ;) :)

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Tim Akers said...

I pretty intentionally lose all of my old stories. This way I can pretend that I used to be a bad writer, but I've made spectacular progress, when in fact I used to be a hack and now I'm a hack with bylines. I keep the rejection letters, though.


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