Stephanie Burgis
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good books, rain
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I just finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, which was one of my Christmas presents this year. I'd loved Lahiri's earlier short story collection, so I had the faith to keep reading through the first few chapters of The Namesake, which were well-written but--at least for me--not particularly compelling. From about the third chapter, though, the whole novel perked up, and by the middle of it I was racing through the story, biting my nails over the characters, and refusing to talk to my loved ones because I needed to concentrate on finding out what happened to the family in the book! It was a wonderful novel, with very real people caringly described (warts 'n all), and painfully true emotional situations. Thanks Marcy! :) Now I want to go re-read Lahiri's story collection, Interpreter of Maladies...

I had a very cool "first" yesterday--the editor of a new, very cool-looking magazine emailed me to invite me to submit a story to him, based on how much he liked Inside the Tower. I'm sure more established authors take requests like that for granted, but for me, it felt amazing! I debated for a long time over which of two possible stories to send him, did one last once-more-for-the-gusto polish on the one I chose, and sent it off yesterday afternoon. Now, bizarrely, I'm feeling more nervous about that submission than about any of the many other stories I have out. Funny thing, the human mind...

Nika was feeling sick in the middle of the night, poor puppy, so none of us got much sleep. (She sat in her bed whining piteously, didn't want to go outside, just felt bad.) We just took her to the vet last night for her leg, which she's been over-licking to the point of bleeding (a typical nervous-border-collie habit), and the vet put her on a course of anti-inflammatory pills. Does anyone know if those can have bad-tummy side-effects in dogs? I don't know if that's a real possibility or just my own medical paranoia. Anyway, she seems better now, but very tired and slow-moving (which, for Nika, really is an unusual occurrence).

It's rainy and cold outside. I'm hoping to entice one of my car-driving friends into a Starbucks run sometime today so that I can restrain myself from going stir-crazy without actually having to stand out in the rain, waiting for 20 minutes at the bus stop. (Lazy, lazy... I know.) In the meantime, though, I've got the gas fire turned on and the curtains pulled so that the living room feels cozy and warm, and I've written a bit more on Chapter Fifteen of The Music of the Stars. Patrick also reminded me that I went through exactly the same crisis 2/3 of the way through every other novel I've ever written, so perhaps I don't need to feel quite so insecure about this one as I have been... So with that in mind, I'm going to go type in what I've written so far, and see if I can push it a bit further.

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