Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ten Things

(Inspired by the meme at Pratie Place.)

So goes the header: Ten Things I've Done (that you probably haven't)

In no particular order:

1. In 1984 I joined 7 other tourists and the captain, cook, naturalist, and translator on a 40-foot fishing boat called the Golondrina for a week of sailing around and exploring the Galapagos Islands. We were among us a writer (me), chemist, biologist, animal psychologist, people psychologist, accountant, micologist, and teacher of Chinese cooking. On more than one occasion we wished we'd had a geologist with us. Details from my time in Quito made it into my short story "Another Place" (Amazing Stories, May 1988).

2. In 1995 I scat-sang with a jazz band at a party associated with the first Boston-New York AIDS Ride. I also participated in the Ride, bicycling 261 miles in 3 days. That year I biked around 3,500 miles, through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.

3. In 1992 I participated in the Coastal Sweep (now called Coastsweep), helping to clean up Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts. I picked up and logged, among other things, 454 cigarette butts, 160+ paper scraps, 15 bottle caps, a rusty nail, and a broken toy. I'd been given surgical gloves to wear that were a peach fleshtone when I put them on and dirty yellow when I took them off.

4. In 1991 I drove an Australian Aboriginal couple to their home in the bush after their ancient Ford Falcon died on Lasseter Highway in the Outback. At first I'd thought they wanted a lift to a gas station where they could call for a tow, but they said, "Friends live here in the bush." They directed me onto a serpentine dirt road backdropped by Mt. Connor; we passed various and sundry cars, cabs, trucks, and truck beds,all of them embedded in the landscape. After taking roads deeper into the bush, making sure to memorize the turns back to Lasseter, I finally came upon a group of Aborigines camped by a couple of cars and with a fire burning. And that was home.

5. In grade school and high school my teachers let me lecture on my theory of time cycles, because at the time I believed I could communicate with the future and was able to articulate how this could be accomplished.

6. In 1985 and 2002 I was a radio guest -- the first time on WMFO (the Tufts University radio station) reading my poetry on its (then-existing) "Second Silence" program; the second time on WBZ (a Boston commercial station) on the Jordan Rich Show, talking about science fiction. My biggest thrill was when a woman called in from the Midwest. She remembered my story "Lazuli" (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Nov. 1984), which she had read in Braille. ("Lazuli" had placed me on the final ballot for the 1985 John W. Campbell Award, given at the Science Fiction Worldcon for best new writer of the year.)

7. In the late 1970s I followed, to the best of my ability, the orchestral score of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring while listening to the recording.

8. In 1989 I was hiking the Wilderness Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains when I spotted a female moose. I immediately sat down and meditated on sending vibes of calm and safety. After about 20 minutes of cropping the plants some yards away and moving gradually closer to me, the moose seemed to decide I was fine and trotted over. I lay down and let her sniff me, her nose only a few inches above my face.

9. In 2002 I taught someone to overcome her fear of singing. We sang a cappella -- to trees, to her paintings, and outdoors at the beach, improvising as we went along.

10. I have written or partially written 11 novels (not counting the current draft I'm writing; and one of the 11 novels is really a trilogy), beginning with my first at age 15. Of those, I have completed drafts for five of them (including the trilogy).


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