Stephanie Burgis
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Strange Days
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Well, the jet lag has finally worn off, but the weirdness factor hasn't yet. It's been an intense few weeks... All the things that have happened for me (travel, wiscon, agent, job) have been fantastic, and I'm both thrilled and grateful, but they're all profoundly unsettling, too, in a way that I didn't expect. Saturday night, as I lay awake in bed with my mind whirring, I wondered why I was feeling so freaked out by actually getting the job that I'd most wanted. At first, I thought, well, I've been a student for eleven years now, which was staggering enough. Then it hit me that no, that was wrong. I'd been a student for the past twenty-five-and-a-half years, ever since I was two-and-a-half years old! So, in other words, in all my conscious memory, I have always been a student, and that's been one of my primary ways of identifying myself. Well, starting in just three weeks, I'll have a full-time job, and a new identity. (Of course, I'll also have a transition period of about three months when I'm a student as well as a worker, but still...) So I'm actually changing identity, and that's always freaky even when it's also an Extremely Good Thing.

I'm also working like crazy on the opening of Masks & Shadows, trying to address the issues Shawna mentioned, as well as the critiques I got at the WisCon writers' workshop. I've figured out the name-change at last, hurray! The-man-formerly-known-as-Count-von-Thun is now Count Radamowsky, which made me deeply happy when it first occurred to me, and even now continues to make me smile. (OK, I've been obsessing over it too much. But still.) And yesterday I wrote an action-y prologue to try to serve as a better introductory hook. Now I keep trading the first two scenes of Chapter One back and forth, back and forth...and I've gotten to the point where I literally cannot tell which way is better. Gaaah!

And I have to say, rewriting is--completely contrary to my expectations!--actually even harder when you've been asked to do it by an agent, because all of a sudden, it actually Feels Serious And Real And Ohmigod-what-if-I-screw-this-up-aaaaaaahhhh!

Or maybe that's just me. Sigh.

The good news is that I've been playing music again, and it helps a LOT with all my feelings of nervousness and frazzle. My parents gave me a gorgeous wooden baroque-style alto recorder for my birthday, and I love it completely, even though my high notes on it are still very, very iffy. I've been playing it for about a week now, just long enough that I kinda sorta have all the fingerings down at last. On Saturday I went out and bought a book of slow movements from Vivaldi recorder concertoes. Playing one of them in particular just suffused me with contentment, and I couldn't figure out exactly why--until later that day, when it hit me that Hayley Westenra's song "River of Dreams" (which played during our wedding ceremony, as everyone lit candles and surrounded us with light) is actually set to that exact tune. So playing that slow movement* just fills me with wedding-bliss every time. :)

Now it's time to settle into Deep Research Mode. Luckily, I ate strudel for breakfast, so I'm prepared! Hope everyone's week is starting out well.
*(from Vivaldi's Concerto for recorder, oboe, violin, bassoon and continuo RV94)

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