December 23, 1997

Typical last days before the Holidays, today. Fun, not much getting done, and we had a nice lunch all together. That was good. We're to have a bit of an awards ceremony or something after lunch. Should be fun, things are well relaxed after the deliveries and things should go well.

Last night John and I went to see Tomorrow Never Dies and had a good time at the theater, in part because one of the kids from his soccer team was there, Chris, with all his brothers and their dad. It was fun to see it again and see it with John. Afterwards, we decided that we both had been eating out too much, so went to QFC and bought salad stuff for the party today as well as dinner stuff that was easy to make. Just a little pork loin roast, a bunch of fresh spinach and a few shataki mushrooms, and a few other small things for the rest of the week.

We were going home and John's outlining the holiday scheduling, it looks like we'll have something just about every day for the first five days of the season and I just broke at about that point. I'm an introvert. This means in the personality terms, that I don't do well in crowds of people, it doesn't mean that I'm not good in a social situations, or can be, it just means that it takes a lot of energy from me to deal with them. I like being alone. I like being with myself. I like myself enough to just spend a week alone in some one-bedroom apartment and with some input through radio or even just a music system, I can just spend that entire week entirely alone with no problems at all and probably be quite happy.

Don't get me wrong. I do like other people. I do enjoy interacting with some people, but usually at a deep level, not a superficial one. I have to interact with others to really get my creative juices flowing and I need other people in order to bounce ideas off of, and to figure out what language really *means* as opposed to what it's defined as. The Horde is a fine example of people that I enjoy, greatly interacting with on an intense schedule, and, in many cases, especially folks like myJohn, Regis, Carl, Earl, Trip, Chrisber, and Gretchen who are quick and fun to bounce off of. Mark also taught me that there are a few people that aren't as mentally agile, but whom are well worth interacting with in order to keep me sane. People that I can just be with. I expect that Raven will be a bit of both, but don't know him quite well enough to say.

Thing is, though, that most parties kinda just stay at the surface level, Hi, hello, how are you doing, what's going on kinds of levels that just don't mean that much to me. They're fun, and they're okay to a certain extent, but I get tired of them.

So I told John that in no uncertain terms and he got it quickly as we've run into this before. So we're scheduling completely-alone time for me for the next week as well. Time for me to sleep, and last night, he took Fezzik for a walk so that I could have a nice, long, hot soak in black current bubble bath and go to bed while he worked on something over the computer. I'll likely have some time like that this afternoon, with any luck.

I read Brezsny's Libra entry for the coming week and laughed myself silly. Just was telling Mark the other day that I really wanted to just kick something, *hard*.

So the trick is going to be making whatever outlets I give myself constructive ones. Turns out the one above worked out, the one with Mark is starting to work out in letters, and there's more to be let loose.

I really enjoyed Raven's last entry. Especially the last bits. Reminds me of how I see how people see other people. Everyone has their own biases, their own perceptions and ways of seeing things. In his entry the 'lights' are the lights from within him going out to people. How I kinda see it is that everyone looking in provides their own 'light', their own way to see. When someone looks at me, really sees me, with their own past their own way of looking at things, I learn more about what's *in* me. So they all, due to their own unique way of looking at anything, give me another way of looking at myself. Sure, the view they have is unique. No one is ever going to see the same things in me that anyone else sees.

Everyone's experience of me, my writing, what I think, what I do, is going to be different than anyone else's because their emphasis and the things that are significant to them are all different. When anyone makes the effort to show me what they see, I get the keen, good gift, of another good look at myself. At what I am, what I want to be.

Unlike either Raven or Mark, my definition of myself is not just who or what I am to myself but also what I am for or to others.

My sister kept this great quote from John M. Ford, "Every book is three books, after all: the one the writer intended, the one the reader expected, and the one that casts its shadow when the first two meet by moonlight. It's from his Rules of Engagement. If you have any chance of finding that, get it, it's *worth* it.

A few other things that I've been reading have kind of hit on things in between. One of those things was something simple and fun, which is the latest Battleangel Alita collections Fallen Angel and had this really keen sequence where put into words something that I've been feeling for a while, but hadn't the words or concepts down enough to put down. And that is that I walk on a boundary between dreams and silicon, but I cannot exist without both. Others can, do, even others are poisoned by one side or the other; but I am what I am because I walk that line.

Other books, in a less personal critique, included C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner, S. P. Somtow's A Dream of Drowned Star City (published by a small press and purchased through an independent, looks like Amazon doesn't have it, as I couldn't remember if the title was quite right), and Tanith Lee's Tamastara: Or the Indian Nights.

I enjoyed Foreigner, but mostly for its cultural mystery. Have to admit that it frustrated the hell out of me, mostly because the protagonist was stupid at spots and really, really paranoid at places where it made no sense to me. But, on the most part, Cherryh was strong in the ways she normally is, i.e. building the background culture consistently from 'different' assumptions. That was keen. But you'd think that someone that studied the culture as life's work would know more than a reader just dumped into it.

Somtow's little special publication was as intense, sensual and lyrical as most of his other stuff, and it worked well at exactly the length it was, which is that dreaded novella length. I didn't mind paying the extra for it as it's unique, but then I buy comic books, too.

Tamastara is an old book by Tanith Lee and it shows the Night's Master style very cleanly and clearly. She's at some of her fantasy best with the first few short stories, and it's clear what she used her Indian cultural expert for. It's good stuff, especially the ones that are a clean interface for Western culture to take a look into the mythology and old-style storytelling of the Indies. Where it breaks off is when she leaps into the future, smashing both SF and the Indian movie culture together, as there's not quite enough background on the Indian movie making culture to support those stories based on knowledge of them.

Most of those I read during waiting at the airports. The week before Christmas is a messy time to fly.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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