Stephanie Burgis
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First entry!
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Woohoo, my first online journal entry! Not that I'm nervous....

It's always seemed like such an odd, revealing thing to do, just to splay out details of your life on the web. However, over the past year, I've gotten addicted to reading other people's blogs, especially the other members of my Clarion West class (hey, guys!) and other writers I love. (And in the past few days, since finishing up work at an intense academic conference, I've practically O.D.'d on blogs, just to catch up on being a writer again, not just a doctoral student! It's always a slippery process of readjustment. Might be easier if (a) I didn't actually love music history, or (b) I wasn't so obsessive and addicted to writing. But as it is, I spend an awful lot of time flip-flopping around between the two identities, both with strong creative pulls and energy drains, and both (as my former CW classmate Ari pointed out) with major reservoirs of guilt--if you're writing fiction, that means you're not doing your academic work; if you're spinning around great academic theories or even (God help us) drafting your thesis, that means you're abandoning your true love, fiction writing.... I keep having to remind myself that this is, in the end, still a good dilemma to be having. After all, I could have a job that I hated (and have done, in the past, plenty of times).

In the mentioned before, I'm decompressing from the conference, British Music in the Nineteenth Century, at which I was a postgrad student helper-- and (in a nice career move) I got to chair a session. (Very intimidating, as a student--chairing established professors in front of a roomful of people who are famous in the field. I kept praying that my voice wouldn't crack or I wouldn't lapse and start telling hideously bad jokes! Luckily, it went okay.) The session was called "Othernesses", a nicely mysterious title (as lots of people pointed out to me in the first few days). Very provocative, interesting papers--19th-century imperialist British perceptions of Indian music and blackface minstrels (they loved the white version, pre-Civil War, but weren't too crazy about the real thing...fascinating racial/cultural implications throughout, in a paper by Derek Scott).

And now I'm back to writing--a week devoted just to writing, as a reward to myself for all the academic work. So far, I've revised my science fiction story, "Homeland" (it's unbelievably weird for me to be working on an SF standard milieu is contemporary fantasy-slash-magical realism-slash-God-knows-what! NOT science fiction). So it's been an interesting experiment, especially since it got wildly varying reactions from the two crit groups that saw it. I'm also re-packaging my first novel for kids, Sensible Sorcery, to send out to four more agents, and working on revising the next novel, Dark Talent, which I feel much more confident about. Not that I don't still love the first, but Dark Talent just feels so much more strongly my novel, the kind of thing I've always wanted to write. Now if I can get that and the next one (Dreaming Alys) successfully revised, then I can finally settle down to a new one.... I put off revising far too long! And of course I'm working on random assorted non-genre stuff, just for the heck of it, as a way of stretching my muscles. Plus my story "Dragon's Egg" is out for critique on the OWW writing workshop, which is always terrifying--whenever I have a story out for critique I walk around with my skin prickling, my arms ready to wrap around myself in a fetal position. Have I mentioned that critiques make me nervous? I don't mind (well, not much) getting negative critiques--they can be really useful. But I hate waiting for them, because I spend the whole time spinning out worst-case scenarios in my head! Luckily, almost no one has written any critique as nasty as the ones I write for myself.

Note--if anyone actually reads this entry (seems unlikely--how weird is it to send words about yourself out into cyberspace and expect anyone else to read them?), feel free to send me an email and let me know! See ya.

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