Notes Prior To Birthday Writing Cocoon

How am I spending my birthday weekend thusfar? Let’s see: I was going to get up at 5am but slept on until 645am — which has pretty much been all week. Wake up at 5, check fitbit, see I only have 4-5 hours of sleep, decide I need a bit more. And so forth. But at least last night I slept by 12:15. Past two nights I slept really late. Last night by 3am! I blame deadline stress and feeling uncertain about the monograph. Oddly, my first emotion after I got baffling email was that I was sleepy, lol but not in a depressed way but in a sleepy cat way. I’m really stressed and anxious about the monograph. I think it’s mostly because I have 2-3 projects I want to see published so I really shouldn’t mess up the first one.

I have to say, one of the reasons why I am an article-writing machine this year is I’ve belatedly discovered something — peer-review feedback, and yes, having academic editors, is REALLY helpful to jolt me out of my inertia. Even when they’re annoying peer review feedback. I’ve been stonewalled a few times here. Research grant proposals that don’t get anywhere while mediocre ones get approved, not getting my sabbatical approved when I’m waaaay more published for the assessed publication year than people whose sabbaticals got greenlighted. Kept here until my period to do my postdoc lapsed. And now placed on the backburner until it looks like I’m the lowest achieving member of the team, ridiculed, dominated even by my juniors and put down constantly. Maybe I should be more assertive, I tell myself. Been there, tried that — the moment you show even a smidgen of assertiveness they paint a picture of you as being difficult — they’ve already been spreading negative rumours to serve their own ends because clearly that’s easier than doing the actual work academics should be doing. So, I keep my counsel and save my energy for my intellectual and creative endeavors. I avoid as much as I can, interaction with certain quarters.

What do I do? I pour my intellectual energy into these works. I get feedback. Not all of it is positive but even the negative ones push me to do better. And I know what I want as an academic/researcher. It’s not about those fancy titles. It’s about why I wanted to be a researcher in the first place. We’re all (those of us dedicated to what we do) in some ways looking for a metaphorical Holy Grail in the wasteland. Mine comes when I’ve made a theory make sense, when I’ve pushed myself a bit further, when I understand a bit more about fiction and the mysteries of how stories are made.

I come at it from both ends — as an author/creator, and as a reader. Because that process of writing is an alchemical process that draws from who we are, our influences, our memories and overlapping histories — but it also involves implied readers and actual readers. It involves people we’re writing for, people we’re invoking and legacies we want to leave behind. Is there creativity in academic writing? We’re not supposed to be creative, which is why I get some puritan/purists feedback sometimes about my writing but you know what, some of the best academic works I have read have pristine and delectable prose. I’m still figuring out my academic writing groove here — it needs to be a balance between scholarly and intellectual rigor but still with sentences so sharp it could slice hard cheese and so delectable you want to put a cherry on top of it.

The process of being a deep reader is satisfying in a different way. I love books, I devour books, they’ve saved me my whole life — being a literary scholar allows me to deep dive and I don’t want to be anywhere else, do anything else. So if I’m not allowed intellectual satisfaction and advancement amongst my immediate peers, I must find it elsewhere. It’s not quite my dream of literary academia but that dream seems so far away from where I am now — situations at work I cannot entirely write about here. It feels like rock bottom, honestly. And these works are pulling me up from the well.

I’m going to be working on psychogeography and spatiality this birthday weekend, also allocating 2.5k words a day for the novel, and another 1k for the novella. It feels apt to do so. I’ll also be eating good food. Tempted to go for a massage and pedicure also. I think I deserve some pampering.

Gifts I got myself this year:

  1. My Some Kind of Wonderful Swarovski Crystal Earrings! (okay, I got an assortment of earring studs because I’m now into simple stud earrings after years of dangly earrings being my groove)
  2.  the fitbit Versa
  3.  bluetooth speaker <3
  4. Perfume: I’ve been lusting after L’occitane’s Terra de Lumiere since it came out. Since L’occitane gave me a birthday discount and RM30/- to spend, I got the perfume and am wearing it everyday.
  5. The Faerie Magazine subscription plus the Faerie and Mermaid handbooks.
  6. New swimsuit for a mermaid who was out of the water for nearly a year!
  7. I’m going to count that literary monograph ebook I bought yesterday as a birthday gift too since it was effing RM185.
  8. I probably should count the two tarte (Mermaid and Rainforest) palettes and brushes plus lip glosses as part of the birthday haul but really I got them when I broke my toe. That whole time in ER waiting to be treated, I was thinking “When I get home I am buying that effing Mermaid palette!”

What, no storybooks? To that I say, the weekend is still young and the traditional visiting of certain bookstores on my birthday may yet happen.

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I may be older but I’m not too old to rise. I’m healthier this year than I was last year. I’m lighter (and cuter, if I say so myself) than I was last year. I’m more published than I was last year. I finally got myself out of my academic writing rut. I’m doing things.

I have to remind myself of all these things because I always feel like I haven’t done enough in life, especially on my birthday. Two days to go. Let’s make these two days count.

Woke up with Joni Mitchell in my head so I’m listening to Blue right now.

No more postings here until after my birthday 🙂

Listening to: All I Want — Joni Mitchell

Friday Fricatives aka The Plot Thickens (jeng jeng jeng)

I am very confused person.

First editor has emailed an answer to all my questions, says he’s looking forward to seeing my work in due course and does he not know about the other editor? Did he not pass me on to them?

o . O

Anyway, I decided the wise thing to do is just focus on my other work for now and then write a carefully (very carefully) worded and polite enquiry about it. I mean, it could be a miscommunication or like, maybe it got forwarded to another division by mistake? We’ll see what’s going on next week.

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In other news I’m going to be working on the psychogeography paper on my weekend retreat. I did tell editor I’d rather send it today when she told me to send it on Monday, because Monday is my birthday. But the thing is, my diving into research and theory got big and I’m really super excited and …I don’t wanna stop. So, I’m equally in love with writing academic lit theory stuff and with writing fiction. If this is going to be precious me time weekend why not indulge in both of my loves? I should be able to send it by Sunday. I’m turning off everything except for Slack because both my workspaces (Codex and our cozy little workspace for mythic wimmin/enbies etc) make me happy for different reasons. Uninstalled whatsapp because too distracting and stressful but will reinstall on Tuesday!

In other news, nice editor who solicited novellas from me last year has emailed to say she’ll read it so yay! Not an acceptance but I guess a notification? Anyway, the only way to do things right is to do things one at a time. And to look after my health. I only had 4 hours sleep last night so now I hope to sleep early, work early and then dive. Dive! Into the rich loam of my creative and intellectual endeavors.

Yeah and try to avoid distracting thoughts about sweet chilli sauce.

o:)

Listening to: Show Me How — Men I  Trust

 

Hangry Ninny Is Not A Stale Dinner Roll

Huh, got a relatively quick response from the series Commissioning Editor re my monograph proposal indicating an interest and I now have to give a sample chapter next month. Panics galore. Apparently my project more appropriately suited this series/catalogue. Okay so I stop thinking of it as a rejection (doesn’t matter even if it was, Editors have a right to decide what is suitable for their issue/imprint/whatever), and I’m not quite stale dinner rolls. Anyway, I am quite convinced my oddball enthusiasm scared the first Editor so I shall be very restrained with this new Editor for the good of my monograph. Like I said, academic publishing people are an entirely different kettle of fish from my SFF tribe. I have problems enough trying to restrain my nature at work because people seem to disapprove of my enthusiasm and lack of ceremony.

Anyway, glad the email arrived today since it perked me up a bit. Woke up in low spirits for no good reason, which worried me. But my blood sugars were low-ish this morning so that could be why. After I had more fruit during elevenses I was slightly less dull.

In other news, I wrote about 400 words in Rosemirror this morning to get my writing juices going and then worked on the Psychogeography article but then my work internet that kept dropping on and off would not come back. So I brought my work crankily back. It’s not like “yay I go home now”. It’s more like “shit, now I have to drive all the way back and it’s going to upset my writing rhythm”. And so it did. I’ve been struggling all afternoon and overposting on twitter.

I am happy that I’m still in the running re proposal because getting published by this company is on my bucket list. Well, and getting multiply published by them so I’d better behave myself. Ninny, behave herself? Don’t you know I’m a wild child.

Pffft.

In case you’re wondering what’s happening on Birthday Weekend, I’m going to be on SUPER PRODUCTIVE lockdown, people. Though I may appear on my slack workspaces. Because this weekend is for me, and is for writing up a storm both in my novel and the novella I intend to lob at Tor.com whether they break my heart or not.

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Food notes:

  1. Breakfast: Fried egg and tomato sammich again  because deadlines. Pineapple (because my body craves the good bromeliad), 5 almonds, decaf.
  2. Elevenses: tuna pasta salad, pineapple, cherries.
  3. Lunch: It was going to be tuna pasta salad again (I made two small containers) but I was hangry and irritated with work internets so I had my first asam laksa in 4 months. And bought a mini chicken pie (about a third of a size of a regular chicken pie).
  4. Tea: Sugar-free chocolate segment (110 calories), diet cherry soda (no calories), 10 almonds.
  5. Dinner: 2 slices toast (181 calories), second 1/3 of that can of chicken soup (78 calories), a teaspoon of low-fat dairy spread. A nice mug of milky decaf with a pinch of salt. IDEK why I suddenly wanted salt but it did add body to the decaf and maybe I have some sodium deficiency because I’ve been SUPER healthy? Haha.

Around 1943 calories today because I was hangry and needed my asam laksa fix. And then pie.

I don’t know why I’m so chatty today. Could be deadline panic.

Listening to: Samorost 3 Main Theme — Floex

 

These Earrings Aren’t Anyone’s Future

I didn’t work on fiction at all today, focusing instead on the Psychogeography article and hammered out about 1k new words plus did some more research, formatting and referencing. Third day of the general office being locked and dark. It was kinda creepy but at least more colleagues turned up today and I chatted with them. But by three pm I was the only one upstairs and since the monkeys had been roaming the corridor again, I brought my work home.

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I also went out at lunch again to the nearby-ish mall — this time to get a bluetooth speaker. Am quite in love with the new Altech Lansing portable “Drop” speaker. It is a small and round thing covered in navy blue, but boy does it pack a punch with a warm bassy sound. I can now play Spotify in the car! Yay! And in the office too! It sits nicely in my handbag and doesn’t take up space. Sounded like a cozy acoustic concert was happening on my commute home. Brilliant.

I also checked out Deezer because Fitbit only made a deal with Deezer. I like their indie acoustic playlists and there’s a different kind of vibe. However, I can’t get Deezer to sync with my Versa and I’ve been trying repeatedly. So if by end of the three month free trial it’s still not working I’ll not go on to paid subscription because I’m happy enough with Spotify.

It would be nice to have the tunes loaded on the Versa though. Which means that the next time I want to buy stuff I’ll get the bluetooth headphones. IF I can get the music to finally fricking download. ARGH.

Also for next year: this, because I’m so in love with it rn and was fondling it with some wistfulness at Harvey Norman earlier.

Also dropped by Lovisa for some simple stud earrings to go with my necklaces but got sidetracked by their swarovski crystal stud earrings. There was an offer so I basically got my Some Kind of Wonderful earrings for RM 23.50 (but I bought two types so RM47). There, earrings that wouldn’t be mistaken for anyone’s future. I chuckled to myself. So that was a good choice re getting the Versa because I got both the Versa AND the earrings. I am very satisfied with this year’s birthday month self-giftings. **sagenod**

As for my Charge 2, the guy told me I could bring the broken charger and the warranty next time, and they’ll order a new one for me. Likely to use the Charge 2 at home while doing housework or while the Versa is charging.

I went from someone who didn’t wear a watch for a decade to someone who now has two smart watches. Guess I just needed a good reason to wear one.

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Food and Fitness Notes:

Don’t think I’m swimming this week because I need all my energy for these deadlines. But I have been walking A Lot (the mall is long and I’ve been doing laps) PLUS I had three 1800-ish calories days which aren’t possible on swimming days. Weight this morning was lowest so I broke my record. Nice. But I’m just about nicely 1kg below where I was last March before misdiagnosed murder drug made me balloon. I need to lose much, much more.

Anyway. Now I’m back to having dinners like this:

 

 

Baked Chicken Breast (120 grams) with 0.8 a cup of mashed potatoes w/ parsley, 1 teaspoon low-fat dairy spread, 1 teaspoon low fat milk and seasonings. Asparagus and cherry tomatoes thrown in oven during the last 10 minutes. I also had 1/3 a cup of cream of chicken soup w/ a slice of bread while waiting. Chicken looks pale because after I defrosted the marinated breast I did not add any oil at all, just put on the convection setting in the oven. But it was nice and juicy. The sauce is just about 1.5 tablespoons of Hunt’s Hickory and Brown Sugar bbq sauce. That’s all I wanted. Can’t be making fancy sauces all the time. Tomorrow night I’ll likely finish the rest of the salmon curry w/ basmati rice, and stirfry some longbeans.

Lunch was Hainanese Chicken Rice for the first time in 3 months or more, and around 0.8 a cup of mango slices. Very nice. Breakfast was a fried egg sandwich (a teaspoon of extra light olive oil), decaf coffee, and a nice yellow peach.

Anyway, back to working on the Psychogeography paper before bed.

 

Listening to: My Body — Eliza Shaddad

50% done!

Met my brief for today and even did my Psychogeography article work. I kid you not, I dreamt last night I was walking through alternate dreamscapes of Ipoh and Penang, and I was doing it in a dérive way — and composing paragraphs while I was perambulating backlanes and tunnels. So I got up and hammered some words earlier.

It’s been a very distracted day. I was upset about the Fitbit charger so I went to another mall for lunch, and wound up getting the Versa. And then I got back to the office but Windows Updates took an hour. Sigh. ANYWAY.

60064 / 120000 words. 50% done!

I’m getting good at writing novels according to schedule. Good, because once I get an agent I want to be one of those authors who put out a book a year.

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Dinner was Salmon curry w/ cherry tomatoes and okra. Also cooked some gorgeous long-grained basmati rice (I opened the packet today), and it’s so gorgeous I want to make briyani with it.

Anyway, I had fish and chips for lunch but was so scared at having two huge cod fillets that I did not finish my lunch. I have therefore eaten under 2k calories for two days so far. There’s hope for me yet even if my rhythms have been pushed out of whack because of Eid, deadlines and being rather emotionally unsettled due to various things I’m waiting to find out more about.

Anyway! I now have a tracker for swimming. Onwards and upwards! Goal for the week: Grade those proficiency papers, submit Psychogeography paper, get to 70k in Rosemirror by next Monday.

Listening to: Valley Boy — Wolf Parade

Monday Draft Zero Check In #3

I did mention last week that I didn’t think I’d get to 60k today. But I did try very hard.

And now we’re here:

 

58865 / 120000 words. 49% done!

Getting there, although I’ve numerous other things to complete. The further extension to the Psychogeography (because of a hold-up on the other end) article means I get to submit it by Friday and I’ve been doing my background readings and want it to be super good.

It was so silent at work today. Only two other people seemed to be around on my floor and the general office was dark. I worked steadily throughout the day and went to the mall for lunch + to look for my fitbit charge 2 charger. They don’t have it and say that I need to order it online, which means I may be fitbit-less for a bit. Unless…unless I give into the urge to get the Versa which can be brought swimming. We’ll see. I don’t really want to spend more money right now, even with a birthday around the corner.

#

Speaking of birthdays, I am mildly tempted to get cubic zirconium earrings that look like the diamond earrings in Some Kind of Wonderful because IDEK it’s a John Hughes movie and I’m all about the popular culture references. But I probably won’t. Why cubic zirconium? Why, because unlike that oaf who wanted to squander his college fund on earrings for a pretty girl, I don’t believe in throwing away money for shiny baubles. Which is why for most of my life I’ve been content with costume jewelry.

Last year however, I thought that now I’m a fortysomething spinster I should probably think of investing in some “real things”, so I bought my first set of saltwater pearls. But I bought them in Sabah and so got them relatively cheap. Honestly I spend more money on books and tech stuff.

I know people are all about the diamonds but I loathed them when I was younger, and now I do think they’re awfully pretty but I don’t think I could ever in good conscience wear them or buy them. They’re such cruel, unethical sort of stones. So I guess it’s a good thing I’m forever alone, ha ha.

But still. Yeah. I keep thinking about those Some Kind of Wonderful earrings. I don’t even know why. I just also feel Watts’s behaviour at the end of the movie was so Un-Watts-like. Or maybe it’s because when I watch these movies I just revel (and yet oddly mourn) that I’ve never been the kind of girl/woman that guys get silly over. There’s a freedom in that. And maybe that’s why I like to commemorate that freedom by buying myself nice things with money I earned with these hands, this  brain, and this fierce will.

Don’t mind me, I’m turning 43 and I’m thinking those thoughts again — how many regrets do I have? And then I turn around and snarl at myself that I’m not quite THAT OLD YET.

**shrug**

Maybe cut quartz. Those I could get behind. If I don’t invest in a Versa because that will be investing in a fitter, healthier me who keeps track of her swimming strokes.

Anyway. Time for bed. The plan for tomorrow is to hit 60k words first thing in the morning, then the rest of the day is for the Psychogeography article.

Notes on the end of a long and surreal weekend

So I’ve pretty much been hanging out at the old home these past three days which is the longest I’ve been around since 2007. There’s a lot of bad memories in these walls, but also quite a few good ones. And I thought to myself: “Hey, I haven’t done a selfie in here for ages”. And well, we didn’t call them selfies back in 2006. I even tried to do a selfie with one of the older low-quality cameras I had pre-cameraphone days. Hated it. Hated how I looked.

So it felt like I should probably take a selfie of me today just hanging out in my old room, trying on the costume jewelry I used to wear in my twenties and teens. The earrings I used to hate. They’re a pair of those 80s chunky earrings passed on to me by my mother who had all of these big New wave type earrings. I only liked costume jewelry that looked hippie-ish, Goth or had some special symbolism to it. But these days I kind of like the chunky geometry of the 80s period plus I know a bit more about design history and architecture. So there’s symbolism for you.

And here’s me. Whatever else I am these days, I don’t hate myself like I used to back then. Plus I think I’m cute. Well, most of the times. Some days I feel like toxic waste:

 

Today I dug into Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairytale. Dug into A Silent Land last night and HAD to finish it because it alternated between having me seriously scared, and having me cry in sadness as well. I’m still not sure if I’m relieved or let down by the ending, to be honest. But I will tell you this — Joyce pulled off what a lesser author could not. If a lesser author had tried that ending I would have thrown the book across the room. With Joyce I was just thoughtful and troubled. Some Kind of Fairytale is also dragging me in and stirring up emotions in ways that few writers can elicit out of me these days.

Now going to work on Rosemirror for a couple of hours but also the psychogeography article which I am hoping to deliver by tomorrow night.

A close up of my tattoo bracelets from the 90s plus the bracelet my mother bought for me in the Holy Land, back in the day.

Today is also Father’s Day. Tears have been shed.

A Moment of Goth Silence on Hipster Raya

Pretty much resigned that this week is not going to be a beneath 2k calorie week though I managed to do 3 days of under 2k. Tomorrow I’m going over to the maternal home again since I’m eating things in small amounts haha, but also to keep her company before work starts again on Monday. Today I had another half-serving of nasi minyak for breakfast w/ opor daging and acar timun. Then laksa pahang for lunch, and then nasi impit, kuah kacang, 1 karipap + about 20 grams of paru goreng berempah (such a winning combination) for tea. That’s serious calories there. Also kena makan  custard cookies, kannn?

Anyway, because I was lazy to beli kasut raya, for the past two days I’ve been wearing my baju raya w/ onitsuka tigers. Hipster raya betul. To cap it all, I went digging into my teenhood trove and found my tattoo bracelets from my goth grunger 90s. Immediately wore them, though I had to throw away my goth nail polish from the 90s. Unusable (I tried). I had a moment of goth silence for the goth makeup of my undergraduate days. The black nail polish, the congealed blood red nail polish, the dark blue nail polish with the congealed blood patina. Ahhh.

In other news, I just realized this morning I actually have FOUR baju raya this year. How did that happen? So this is my first proper raya in years. Kinda a weird feeling, still processing.

ANYWAY, I managed to get quite a bit of reading for the Psychogeography paper done while I was there since tired mothers have their afternoon naps. And padded about the kitchen, as you do. I did do a lot of cooking in that kitchen since the `90s. Anyway, so that was my weekend. Now trying to catch up on words in Rosemirror.  So I was happily pulling out stuff (nasi impit, and paru goreng berempah, and karipap) from the fridge to heat up in the microwave for tea. Aiyoh. This coming week must really be strict with myself.

Not going to think about the monograph until after my birthday next week. Mostly because I’ve too many other deadlines to worry about and I’m not going to drive myself bonkers about “what does it all meaaaan?” re the email from the publishing company etc. Okay, so I am driving myself bonkers a little. Ninnybrains, you know?

SFF people put up with so much of my silliness but these academic publishing types scare the dickens out of me. I’ll just be in the corner over there biting my knuckles. You know I’ve been angsting all weekend over this. You just know it.

Okay. Back to Rosemirror writing. And reading before bed. Graham Joyce’s The Silent Land which is creeping me out in a major way.

Oh yeah, it’s Bloomsday. Still wistfully wondering if I could do Bloomsday next June but Worldcon is only in August and how do I get an Irish visiting research fellowship for 3 months? Also, how do I afford living in Dublin for three months? Also, what is my fate at the uni overall?

Listening to: Distorting — Ryan Vail

The Past Two Days

The past two posts that I’ve deleted were perhaps a little too angsty, a little too heavy and not at all what I’d planned for this version of Growing Fins. It was more v.1 than v.2. And you know when I start weaving in metaphor and patterns in a memoir-ish kind of way, people start misunderstanding and misconstruing left and right. And I start feeling oh-so-exposed. Ohnoez!

So in the interests of proper curating, I’ve deleted the posts.

Relevant stuff that happened these past two days in bullet points, I’ve redacted the more personal and family-related matters:

  • I’m working rather desperately on the psychogeography article even though it’s Eid (I’ve already done the Eid thing and survived it, fear not gentle friends).
  • Got an extension on the article from the super-cool prof who invited me to join this grant-funded project’s special journal issue.
  • Yesterday some mad bug bit me and I submitted my monograph proposal because I was fed up of inertia and being scared to submit it. By this morning I got a note from an EA from another division (I think) that the proposal had been transferred to them. Suspect it wasn’t right for the imprint I’d submitted it to and I’ve been passed on like stale dinner rolls. Also got told a bit about the process. To be honest, given that I’d sent one email with about a gazillion questions, and then another email with the proposal sans sample chapter I’m a bit surprised I haven’t been instantly rejected. It may yet happen! How do I feel? A bit flattened, to be honest. But also oddly relieved — like whew, that’s a load of pressure off? I am glad I won’t have this hanging over my head and I’m in the system of a big academic publishing house — albeit briefly. Even if I get rejected it’ll be educational. Also I finally got off my ass and stopped fear-procrastinating over this for the FIRST TIME SINCE I GRADUATED WITH A PHD. So yay me. (in the meanwhile younger people have monographs out way earlier than me so I really really need to do things faster like, yesterday).
  • Pumped because of my double acceptances at Kaleidotrope plus that revision request over at [redacted pro magazine], I finally got over the funk I’ve been in since that heartbreaking rejection of my novella after over a year and being #1 in queue. So I submitted it to the very nice publishers who solicited novellas from me last year. Actually I got solicited for novellas by THREE separate sources so I’m doing okay, you know.
  • I don’t think I’ll hit 60k words in Rosemirror by Monday because of the psychogeography article. By Tuesday? Maaaybe but it’s going to be a very busy week. The Malaysian Gothic chapter has minor revisions, I’ve got a ton of grading to do, I want to submit some more short fiction and maaaybe attempt to get something ready for Tor.com’s novella submission period in July though they’ll likely break my heart and stomp all over it again but you know I never say die.
  • I did the gauche thing of writing a thank-you note to former Dream Agent who sent me that wonderfully kind rejection that said a great many fine things about my novel sample + writing, plus some incisive comments of how to improve it. She wrote a very sweet note in response which was super-encouraging. I’m still very comforted by that. If you know in what high esteem I hold her work, you’ll know why it means a lot to have someone like her say she expects great things from me. Still waiting to hear back from other agents. Though recently I’ve been getting better rejections. That’s comforting. Still, getting an actual agent would be better 🙂
  • After I am done with the article and the chapter I’ve got to start working on some other things. Three conference papers that will also become articles. A chapter for an ecocriticism book that’s with the same publishers who have my monograph (if it gets approved), a rewrite of my fairytale article that I’ve been putting off since 2015 because I was still a baby ECR then, also was very busy with being a baby pro author and life stuff. Now that I’ve powered more than one article through the peer review process I feel more confident about approaching this one. I’ve pretty much been an article writing machine all year. Feel oddly proud of myself for that.
  • Got idea for a monograph that might be a real passion project for me — that’s the real reason a fire got lit under my butt yesterday to submit. Like, the idea just came into my head and I was breathless. It was a bit like being in love. But I need to honor my commitment to this project first. Next year. It would be good to get current monograph out of my system first and I can do side research and concept storyboards for new one while I learn stuff writing this one. To be honest, I’ve already started. I’m so good at conceptualising monographs, so so very bad at being brave enough to get to the next step. So for that at least, for putting one in the system at least, I deserve a pat on the back. Even if they reject it. They probably will.
  • Reading Notes: I finished Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures earlier while wrapped up in my comforter in utter exhaustion. A story about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. It made me miss Lyme Regis so much. I spent two entire days along the waterfront, walking up and down — even though I was too chicken to stroll along the Cobb. Superstitious fear. I’d spent an afternoon poking about the Lyme Regis Museum. And I stayed in an Edwardian B&B that had a family that reminded me of the Bennetts. It was magical except for being trailed by cops because apparently I’d not had Polly Jean’s lights on. That scared me but since I’m such a helpless female sometimes I asked them for directions, advice on the car (it was way more high tech than Elena which confused me quite a bit), complained about the spooky road and they kind of did that thing men do **rolls eyes** and gave me directions, some avuncular advice and sent the not-so-little lady on her way. God, I mean I loved the French Lieutenant’s Woman but never quite expected to have my own brush with “the wild side” in Lyme. ANYWAY. ABOUT THE NOVEL. IT IS EXCELLENT AND BROKE MY HEART AND OMG I NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ELIZABETH PHILPOT RIGHT NOW.  And I need to figure out how to visit Lyme Regis again without having these kinds of adventures.

Listening to: That’s a Lifestyle — Dirty Projectors

Morning Acceptance Notes

Well, looks like last night was a busy one for my inbox!

First, an acceptance for my “Ulek Mayang” revision (FINALLY) from Kaleidotrope, a really respectable semi-pro magazine that was namechecked that one time on Kirkus Review (along with Clarkesworld during a month when it had one of my stories in it!). If that was not enough, the wonderful Fred Coppersmith also accepted “Archipelagic Constellations”, my origin story epic poem of the Bunian Empire. Some of that origin story made it into “Violets on the Tongue” as well as the Admiral Zhen-Juan novelette (“Liar, Liar, Your Station’s On Fire”) that’s now sitting pretty in a slushpile somewhere but this one has the visceral and raw first person narrative so I’m really happy it finally found a home.

The sad news is that both will come out only in 2020. Oh well, at least I’ll know 2020 has two things of mine in it!

(I deleted snark about other stuff because we are supposed to be avoiding snark and whines on this version of my blog)

This story has a complicated backstory: I wrote Ulek Mayang in 2015 because a Brazillian magazine requested a story of mine they wanted to translate. Sadly they took so long (and have yet to bring that issue out) that I offered them Sang Rimau instead and started lobbing Ulek Mayang at markets in late 2016. It came close at so many places — ridiculously close! But has apparently now found a home with an editor who accepted it without reservations. FINALLY.

Oopsies, some snark came along with that. Sorry, I have strong feels!

ANYWAY. I also FINALLY got a rejection from first agent to ask me for a partial of WATERMYTH. She’s also the first agent I ever queried as she’s been Dream Agent at Dream Agency since 2009. Only took nearly a year but I was very happy with the rejection as it was very kind, very incisive and very encouraging. So, that’s former Dream Agent who seems a lovely person but is Dream Agent no more. Pity, would have been nice to work with her. But! I really like and approve of the two agents who now have my full manuscript and I really really really am crossing my fingers so tight right now that at least ONE will say “HELLO I LIKE THIS”. But I dunno. This has been a one year journey and I don’t want to get disappointed by hoping too much. Basically now it’s all about seeing who responds first. I also have other queries out.

On the academic front I also got very very minimal edits back on the Malaysian Gothic chapter I’m contributing to a Cambridge Scholars collection compiled by the lit team at another university. They also had some very nice things to say about my work which really soothed my rather wounded ego.

I also have feelers out on another thing but again I don’t want to expand too much hope there because that will only lead to disappointment. But it’s time to take  serious steps to get out of this inertia I find myself in. I deserve so much better than what I have right now and I have to stop undervaluing myself the way my fellow Malaysians tend to undervalue me. So. Here’s to cautious hope and more methodical/hard work.

Going to continue working on the Psychogeography article now. Oh, some words in Rosemirror first!