Time and its Discontents

Hello, readers.


It’s Sunday and, so, as it sometimes seems to happen, I’m writing to you. Outside, there is Saigon, and there is rain. My dad was here many decades ago. That’s strange to think about.

I’ve been putting together short reading lists to share and discuss with my crit group in Saigon. The first list featured three stories about space and aliens: “Surface Tension” by James Blish, “Semley’s Necklace” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.

The second list featured stories about space and time: “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” by Alfred Bester, “The Fire Watch” by Connie Willis, and “The Remeberer” by Aimee Bender. This second list I titled, ‘Time and its Discontents.’

Earlier today, I had sad thoughtful thoughts about my sister and our mom and the house where my mom lived, and where her parents lived, and where her brother lived, where, for different and sometimes overlapping periods of time, I and my sister lived. Mom died earlier this year. The house is still there. At some point the house will not be there. At some other point, it may or may not belong to other people. This got me to thinking about how a long time ago maybe people stayed in one place for a very long time because it was hard to move. It’s still hard to move, but people do it a lot now. I’ve gotten quite good at it. I wonder sometimes if I will ever be some place for more than a couple years. I imagine if I stayed in one place I would want a house with secret passages and a bookshelf or twenty. It seems silly to stay in one place and not make it worth it.

A lot of my favorite stories focus on memory and time. Solaris. Eternal Sunshine. The Rememberer. Prisoner of Azkaban. Etc. So on. My head is full of time and space. So is yours. I wonder what my cats think when I’m not there, or when they move houses. Do they remember? Science probably knows the answer to this.

I finished Alif the Unseen. It was magnificent. Here are some articles about it. The book had me thinking again about myth and time and gods and spirits and how very much I love to exist in a place of uncertainty and how much it scares me, too. Roger Ebert said of belief that he’s much more interested in questions than in answers. I don’t know if I agree with that. But, I do know that I love asking questions.

How are you today, readers? Well, I hope, or if not well, then gainly occupied with the business of traveling through time and adding some joy to the goings on.


New review and other things.

Hello, readers.

Today, I find myself in a cafe very near my home. It’s called Sleepy Town. Howie Day is singing about the best falling down. There is a bicycle hanging on the wall and, across the room, a scale-model of giant electrical towers connected by power cables that bounce when people walk by.

I spent the large part of my morning at the top of my very tall house writing a story about a girl and magical things and stuff. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a morning. Later today, I will visit a fine Indian restaurant and eat delicious jalfrezi’s and korma’s and maybe some channa. Possibly a dosa or two. Probably not all of those things or I would die.

Earlier this week, my review of Karen Russell’s latest collection of stories, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” appeared at Strange Horizons. They are in the middle of their fund drive. If you’ve got some spare change, toss it their way. They’re good people.

Happy Sunday, readers.

p.s. I am loving Alif the Unseen. It mixes religion and myth and hackers in a way that delights me terribly much.

p.p.s. Finally figured out a background that works for both me and iOS7. This was, not kidding, a highlight of my week. I like when things are pretty and functional.

p.p.p.s. This is pretty.


p.p.p.p.s. This is cute and sad and fun. I found it walking about the streets.


Some things about me.

Hello, readers.

I am a writer, teacher, traveler, and geek living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In the past I have blogged here, and lived here. Having moved from Seoul to HCMC, and having finished and begun rewriting a book partially inspired by my time in Seoul, I thought it was perhaps time to move myself to a new home on the web. I do not know if my home will remain as it is now for very long, or if I will redecorate a bit. At the moment, the only real furnishing is the banner at the top which rotates among pictures I have taken during my travels through space and time.

Here are some things about me.

1) I love Doctor Who and have, on many occasions, instructed my students in the joyful horror of “Blink.”

2) My sister once passed to me cassette tapes containing the audio of several Monty Python sketches and that has made if not all, quite a bit of difference.

3) You can read a couple of my stories here and here, as well as one called “Some Things About Love, Magic, and Hair,” which is here and also which inspired the name of this post. Or, rather, most likely, it’s just that I love the construction ‘some things’ and recycle its use without really being aware I’m doing it until I’ve already done it.

4) I very much love words like ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ because I find the world sometimes very difficult to describe, or understand, without leaving a lot of things unsaid and rather vague.

5) I love precision.

6) I am often at conflict with myself which makes me, more or less, like all the things and stuff that have ever existed.

7) I have published many reviews at Strange Horizons which you can find by clicking the publications button up there at the top of the page underneath the picture of whatever is currently the picture.

8) You may follow me on tumblr, or twitter, goodreads, or pinterest, if your heart did ever so desire.

9) Currently, I’m reading┬áAlif the Unseen and loving it very, very much.

10) I very much enjoy lists, which, if you know me, you already know. And if you don’t know me, now you do.

Happy Saturday, readers.

See you in the future.