Measured Extravagance

15 January 2003 - 1:41 p.m.

Kindred thoughts on snow and work at thistledown's journal.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, on observing her husband with his new Telecaster: 'A few hours ago I asked him, quite unnecessarily, if he were happy. He looked up at me, blinking and confused, and said "I don't know. I've been too busy to think about it."'

Also via the Nielsen Haydens' writings, I just picked up "gafiate", defined elsewhere as the verbing of Getting Away From It All, mainly wrt SF/F-fandom.

What a fabulous word! I've never been sufficiently immersed with SF/F activities to make an issue of escaping from them, but I've certainly exercised my desire to gafiate over the years in other realms, at times abandoning music, writing, calligraphy, religion, the Internet. . . hmm. Now that I think about it, I've been through significant lovers' quarrels with pretty much every major area of my creative life - ditching them in part because, in my twenties, I wasn't yet equipped to handle the social baggage attached to this ensemble or that workshop. And in part because I found it more rewarding to focus on Work. I was damned devoted to Work throughout my twenties - the first two years we lived in Detroit, our neighbors insisted I was a figment of the BYM's imagination because they so seldom saw me.

Now here I am, getting reacquainted with the harem, sometimes feeling as though I'm not just starting over, I'm having to study the basics I was too much in haste to absorb the first time I was introduced to them. Some days, it's not a good feeling at all. Other days, I figure I am at last focusing on the right things, now that I truly care about getting the basics right. In both cases, I tell myself that it matters less that I'm slow than that I'm stubborn: twenty years from now, virtually no one will care whether I produced poem x or artwork y when I was twenty-three or thirty-three or forty-three years old. What's going to matter is whether poem x or artwork y was, is, good. That, I have in me. I just have to be able to remember it the days when everything in my head sounds trite or flat to my ear, everything out of my pen looks lifeless or lopsided.

That was actually a digression, there. What "gafiate" actually reminded me of is that I've only attended one SF/F convention to date, when I was hired as part of a group to sing "Green Hills of Earth" at ConClave 1993. I think I may want to improve on that sometime this decade: an antique fantasy of mine involves making books and lettering pillows to stock a booth at such a gathering. I admit it's also on my mind because I seem to be browsing through a higher percentage of SF/F writer/editor sites these days - thinking about it, there may be a predisposition in that demographic for both philosophical rigor and healthy irreverence that particularly appeals to me (I may be talking out of my hat, though - I haven't thought that hard about it. . .) - put another way, I wouldn't mind a weekend hanging around the folks I've been reading of late. "Hanging around" being defined as "lurking in the same general vicinity striving desperately to avoid sounding like a gibbering idiot should anyone slide past the lurk-shield."

Anyhow, I fancy it will be a couple of years before I build up both the inventory and the travel fund to make such a trip, but a couple of years is not so far away, either. ("There are no unrealistic goals - just unrealistic timeframes.") And it will dovetail nicely with my plan to reacquaint myself with Arthurian classics before traveling with Mer. Anyhow, the first order of business is to get enough sleep.

"After that my wife and I in pleasant discourse till night, then I went to supper, and after that to make an end of this week’s notes in this book, and so to bed. It being a cold day and a great snow my physic did not work so well as it should have done." - Samuel Pepys


One year ago: "I especially liked the letter Okakuro Kakuzo (the "William Morris of Japan") and his pet Angora kitten sent to Mrs. Gardner. . ."

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