Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I'm making a list of what I enjoyed about Wiscon, so I can keep the experience. We got out Friday and went window shopping at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has a lovely shop, and the Fanny Garver Gallery. Then went over to Monana Terrace, a Frank Lloyd Wright building on the shore of Lake Monona. It was a bright late spring day. The sky and lake were blue. We like FLW buildings and wandered around, then went to the shop, which was full of FLW mugs and scarves and key rings. Bought nothing. A day or so later, I bought a necklace from Elise Matthesen in the dealer's room. Elise names her jewelry, and this one is named "The Hidden Folk Consider the Matter of Churches." Since my new collection is titled Hidden Folk, I had to have the necklace. It's silver, agate and red abalone shell.

I don't make many panels at the con. However, I took part in a pleasant panel discussion of the Tiptree Award and attended a very useful discussion of how to organize time for writing. Heard a good paper by Sandy Lindow on my Big Mama stories. The Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam at the Concourse restaurant were excellent. Had a chance to talk with people I really like and see only once a year. Also missed the chance to spend time with other people I really like and see once a year. This year Wiscon and the annual Science Fiction Research Association convention were running in adjoining hotels, so there was a lot of walking back and forth. Good for exercise.

One lovely sight. On Sunday morning, as were were walking from one hotel to another, we passed an Episcopal church. The priest was outside. The various layers of his vestments were cream, pale blue and pale green. Everything was brocade and gleamed in the morning sunlight. He looked like a garden. I wanted to say, "What a great costume!" But I said, "Good morning."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I went to a performance of Ragamala on Sunday, which meant I had to skip a meeting of my poetry writing group. But I had the ticket... Ragamala is an Asian Indian dance company and school based in Minneapolis. They do South Indian classical dance. The company's founder (who is from India) and her daughter studied with a famous teacher in India. But they add non-traditional elements. This time, the music was composed by an Indian-American jazz musician and played by a group of five musicians; the composer, who plays a fine alto sax, a guy on electric guitar, a guy on karnatic flute, and two women, one playing a traditional Indian drum and the other playing karnatic violin. (Karnatic refers to style of music. The violin looked like a perfectly ordinary violin, though the player got unexpected sounds out of it.) The dance and music was inspired by an 8th century Tamil woman poet. I liked it.

Packing Stuff

I have packed up five boxes of manuscripts to go the SF archives at Northern Illinois and am now collecting books to send to my college reunion, which is going to do a display of books published by members of the class. The woman organizing this says most of the books are scholarly, though there's a fair amount of poetry. She figures science fiction will attract interest. I am not attending the reunion, due mostly to Wiscon, which is a week or so before. The idea of racing from one large gathering to another does not appeal.

I want to take more trips, but to quiet places, by myself or with Patrick. The Black Hills... The North Woods... My brother's house... The Walker Art Center to see the Hopper show...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Frozen 2

A friend with mid school age children says kids love Frozen and don't see it as a coming out movie. Rather, it's about the kind of differences that make childhood painful. You are too smart, too bookish, too geeky, too nerdy...

It works as that, too.

While we talked about this, I began to think about how deep the wounds of childhood can be. The 19th century psychoanalysts focused on the harm done within the nuclear family. This is important, of course. But teachers and peer groups and the general community can also do harm.

If Frozen helps kids deal with being different and not fitting in, the more power to it. The kids may grow up to be happier adults.

Bad Dream

Yesterday must have been a day for bad dreams. Several people described them on facebook. Mine came during an afternoon nap. I was with my brother. We were both younger than we are now, and we had two cats, the ones our family had when I went away to college. (Though we were not that young.) We were on some kind of trip. Instead of having cat carriers, like sane people, we had the cats on leashes and -- most of the time -- were holding the animals. They did what cats do in this situation, struggled like crazy to get free and run away. It was raining heavily. The streets were full of water and water covered lawns. We were trying to get to our car and get back on the freeway and keep hold of the cats. But we were not entirely sure where the car was...

I blame the dream on a combination of the hamburger I had at lunch and all the cute cat photos on the Internet...

I plan to give up hamburgers, but not cute photos of cats.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Patrick and I saw Frozen for the first time a few days ago and didn't like it. I couldn't figure out the plot. What was it about? Corny family stuff?

Well, sort of.

From facebook:

We saw Frozen again and liked it much better. Patrick's final comment was, "It's a hell of a way to come out of the closet, Elsa."

I completely missed that the first time around, which is why the movie did not make sense. There are times when I need diagrams and pointing arrows.

Having realized that Frozen is about being in and coming out of the closet, I thought about the other characters. At the end of the movie, the huge snow monster finds Elsa's crown and puts it on. All his sharp edges and spines disappear, and he looks happy. Patrick said, "He's gay, too." I'm not sure about gay. But the monster is happier with a woman's tiara, which suggests he is not gender-typical. (Of course, these days gender-typical is going down the drain. Does it still exist, except among Southern fundamentalists?)

Then there is Oaken, the proprietor of Oaken's Trading Post. People have commented that he sounds gay. To me he sounds Norwegian. However, he says his family is in the sauna. We get a brief look through the sauna's glass door. The family inside consists of an adult male and a bunch of kids. There is no one who looks clearly like an adult female. (Though I will have to see the movie again.) It's important that Oaken have a partner and a family, because Elsa doesn't have a partner. Nor does the monster.

Finally, there is Olaf the snowman. Olaf is funny, charming, brave and kind, but is he straight? What kind of question is this, anyway? Why am I talking about the sexual orientation of a snowman
Anyway, an interesting movie -- but only if it's a movie about coming out. Without that theme, it collapses into cute trolls, a cute reindeer, a cute snowman, and Anna, who is looking for her prince -- and finds one, only he's a cad. I wonder what conservative Americans make of the movie.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

New Arnason Story Collection

I don't know if I've made a formal announcement... I have a story collection coming out later this spring. It's print on paper and titled Hidden Folk, coming from Many Worlds Press. Five fantasies based on Icelandic sagas, myths and folktales. Two of the stories appeared in prozines: Asimov's and F&SF. One appeared in a semi-prozine with a very small circulation, and two have never been published. It will be available at the usual online venues, and the two local SF bookstores will have it, I am sure.

I am going over the copyedited manuscript right now. As we say in Minnesota, the stories are not so bad. They could be worse.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Saw the Matisse show at the Minneapolis Art Institute -- very lovely, though too crowded in the manner of special exhibits. I bought the catalog, so I could look at the art again. His drawings are terrific. So are his paintings and his paper cutouts. My friend and I then wandered through the Native American and African galleries.

The African galleries are a new installation and quite wonderful. The art goes from ancient Egypt to contemporary art by African and African-American artists. There was a huge turquoise necklace from ancient Egypt in a case with gold work from Ghana, a mummy case near a coffin in the shape of a huge crayfish by a contemporary African artist. A row of display cases held Jewish and Islamic art from North Africa, Christian art from Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Kongo (which became Christian in the late 15th century), a page from the Koran from Mali... In the old days, the North African art would have been put with Islamic art and the Egyptian art would have been put with Greek and Roman art. Much of the Sub Saharan art would have been in a gallery called 'Primitive Art' or maybe 'African Art,' as if the other work had not been done in Africa.