February 19th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note...

I'm still here. And I'm making progress: I now have two of my three March/April newsletters and half of the third one done in draft [which is the hardest part]; I now have an actual rough draft of my verbal self-defense workshop for kids, thanks to all of you and your generous help; and I now have nine chapters of the second edition of the Gentle Art book keyboarded -- not yet revised to my satisfaction, but heading in that direction. My husband has been steadily producing beautiful and delicious loaves of that five-minute-no-knead bread for our dinners; this -- trust me -- borders on being a miracle.

There are also things that aren't going well. For example: The enormous stack of questions about my conlang that I haven't been able to find time to answer is getting taller and taller; I haven't had even two minutes free to tackle the new homepages I need at my SFWA website [http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin ], one for the Coyote Jones novels and a combined one for The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook and Twenty-One Novel Poems; I haven't written a word of fiction for months, and may well have forgotten how; I'm too busy to get anything done on my new collage book, which is ordinarily my Winter art project every year; I'm at least two years behind in my reading; nothing at all has been happening at the page where I put The Communipaths online [http://www.jackiepowers.com/SuzetteHadenElgin/TheCommunipaths.html ], and I have no idea why, because there's been no feedback, perhaps because people are afraid of hurting my feelings by telling me how out of date I am. We won't even think about the state of my house, or about the total absence of any vegetable seedlings growing under lights to be put in the garden this spring. My entranced fascination with the presidential primaries -- they keep sucking me in when I should be doing other things -- isn't helping.

And then there's the cottonpicking weather, right? Any other year, I'd be saying things like "I will be SO glad when this horrible cold wet winter is over!" This year, I don't dare say anything even remotely like that, because I am so certain that what comes after this horrible cold wet winter is going to be even worse.

[Digression: Last week a spectacular present from two of my Network friends arrived in my mail. It was a fandangous little buffalo, stuffed with fragrant herbs, that you can heat up in your microwave oven or freeze in your freezer, sent to keep me warm through these cold days and keep me cool when the heat waves arrive. It's the most comforting little critter I've ever held that wasn't a live critter -- beautifully designed, beautifully made. Plus, it goes with my Cattle collection. Wow. How cool, and how warm, and how shiny, is that? And it wasn't even my birthday. I am blessed.]

I could go on and on like this, but not to worry -- I'll spare you -- because I absolutely have to stop enjoying myself and Get To Work. With my nice warm buffalo in my lap...
ozarque figure

Recommended link; history of proposed gender-neutral pronouns...

For those of you who are interested in the issue of a third-person-singular gender-neutral pronoun for English, I recommend Dennis Baron's "The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word That Failed," at http://www.english.uiuc.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/essays/epicene.htm . The list is carefully annotated, and in chronological order, starting with a citation from 1884 .