Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Well, gentlepeoples, welcome to the new millennium (for Pascal programmers, anyway; for C programmers the new millennium started last year...).

Gee, I suppose I should say something about the birth. It was scarier, more intense, more horrific, and longer than I expected (we were basically awake doing nothing else for 48 hours -- with a few hours of sleep in the middle of that). But it was also, in a way, simpler and happier than I expected; I felt like Esther and I were a team, and I generally felt like I knew what to do next to make her feel better. It was a wonderful adventure, the way having your legs bitten off by a shark and having to swim 500 miles to an unknown island carrying your amputated legs, and then having them sown back on, is a wonderful adventure. Which is to say... in retrospect. It was Esther, of course, who had to swim carrying her legs; I was in the motorboat next to her shouting encouragement through a megaphone. And then, after reaching the shore and re-attaching her legs, we found that we had landed in a wonderful new country, a country we had always dreamed about, and that waiting there for us was an alien stranger who was the most perfect person in the world, and who we loved with a huge love that held up the sky.

The alien stranger, Aviva, is our new roommate, and I must say I have never had a more messy or demanding roommate, nor one with a more wonderful smile.

Well, I will not assault you with any more pictures of the Aviva The Little Monkey, unless you really want to see them.

So... after two weeks of blissful and sleep-deprived exclusive concentration on diaper changing and the like, I am turning my attention back to writing. I think I sent an appeal for critiquers for Other Cities to the RMCrit folk -- maybe the email never got sent? If I did send it, it was met with a resounding silence. Perhaps because of the holidays, or perhaps I scared everyone off by mentioning that it had no plot or characters? Anyway, I've been reading it aloud to some of our many visitors (my parents were here, and my sister and her boyfriend, and practically everyone we know in Switzerland paraded by for the little princess's review), and got some reactions. It's only a 1200-word bit of whimsy, anyway... how much critiquing does it need? So I am going to send it off to GVG today. I don't think he'll take it, really -- it's a little too plotless and literary for F&SF -- but I'd like a fast "alas" (that's how GVG always phrases a rejection) before I send it off to slower markets like Interzone or The Kenyon Review or whatever; some kind of reaction is preferable to interminable waiting.

I am slowly being driven mad, at present, by waiting for responses to the stories I have out now. I sent The Death Trap of Dr. Freezo to The New Yorker in mid-September and I haven't heard anything yet. What drives me crazy is not just the over-three-month wait; it's the fact that the story is good -- I think it's salable in its current incarnation -- and that there is an astronomically small chance of The New Yorker actually buying it... I mean, who am I kidding, right?  I am also waiting for The Orange (sent to Harper's in October) and The White City (sent to Black Gate in early November). I've been spoiled by GVG's two-week turnaround and personal rejection letters. I think The White City might have a chance -- though again, it's probably too literary -- but the other two are really potshots. 
Day after day, my mailbox remains chillingly empty, and I know that I'm only getting form letters out of these people anyway!

Of course, as I always tell myself when looking in that cold, empty mailbox, if they're seriously considering it, I don't mind waiting.

But more likely the manuscripts are sitting in a stack somewhere.

Still, the cure for this is writing: it's only because I haven't been writing new stuff that I've been so obsessed with the empty mailbox!