Monday, December 31, 2007


That looks so political...

No, I want to talk about good old-fashioned super-powers, like invisibility, x-ray vision, and all that. Because everyone has super-powers. Seriously. They're just not all really cool super-powers.

For example, MP (MP is my guy; you'll hear a lot about him [poor fellow]) swears that his super-power is Cold. Okay, I thought, a sort of Silver Surfer thing going on... No. He means Cold as in being cold -- cold hands, cold feet. While I agree that MP does indeed have unusually cold feet, it makes for a pretty lame super-power. The crime fighting possibilities are narrowed, as it were. What's a little more unusual about MP's super-power of Cold is that he also has... Well, a very cold butt. I've never actually heard of having a cold butt unless you were ice fishing or something. MP tells me that his butt is sort of like cooling fins for his computational brain... And yes, that's right about the part where my mind shuts down, too.

There's an anime, Outlaw Star, in which one of the satellite characters has the special talent of "space fighting with cats." Hello? How do you find out you have that skill? And how do you market that?

I actually have two super-powers, but they're passive; I have no control over either, it's just what happens in my universe. The first is that people tell me everything and anything. The second is space-time bending.

I've had the first super-power for as long as I can remember, and frankly, I'm still working through what it actually is. Am I invisible, so people just talk like I'm not there? Do I have some Bene Gesserit mind-control trick to force people to reveal things that they later regret? Perhaps I just have an understanding face that says, "go ahead -- you can tell me all about that little personal habit of saving your scabs and I'll understand perfectly."

It isn't that I listen without judgment. Oh yes, I have my opinions. Perhaps it's that I reserve that judgment for myself, later, after I've had time to think about it. In the meantime, I'm just gonna keep asking you questions and nodding my head. It's a nice talent for a writer to have, except that if I write what I know, I'm gonna get sued -- not to mention hurt a lot of people's feelings. One must never abuse one's talents. I am sworn only to use my Evil powers in the cause of Good. In the meantime, I guess I wait for everyone I know to die off or something.

The space-time thing happens a lot while people are busy revealing their inner-lives to me (and both happen a lot at Café Tor, now that I think of it). They sort of look up and say, "Wow, it's only seven thirty? Huh. Where was I?" I can expand time really well, but I'm not so hot at compression. We can spend a fascinating hour together, but I can't help your workday fly by.

Useful talents, true, but I'm still working on the space fighting with cats. I want to be well-rounded.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

It was a Dark and Stormy Night...

That's it. I'm running away from home.

There aren't any good snacks here. There is nothing more irritating than being home on a Dark and Stormy night and finding out that you crave muffins, only you don't have any eggs, and that somebody used all the coffee creamer but didn't tell you and just left the carton on the counter. How passive-aggressive is that?

Home has also gotten pretty dull lately, which is to say that I have gotten dull. It is time, I think, to change my views, or at least to contemplate what they might be.

Perhaps most importantly, I crave anonymity (I defy anyone to spell that word correctly without first looking it up). There is nothing more of a drag on a writer's creativity than to have the threat of familial obligations lurking about. The people you know most intimately are of course the richest vein of discussion, so let us "open our veins," as it were. I mean, I want to be tasteful here, but if my parents didn't want to see their evil child-rearing practices splashed all over the blogosphere, then they should have fronted up with that pony back in '79. It pays to think ahead.

However, I totally respect my relatives wanting to maintain their own anonymity, to go quietly to their various places of employment without hearing, "Hey - read Marianne's essay in the Sunday paper. Holy crap! Never knew you could use a Salad Shooter to do that!" It's a two-way street, you know.

I've always written in cafés, ever since I discovered that such watering holes existed (And BTW - Starbucks ain't no café. If we are to get along, we have to be perfectly clear about that up front.). I liked to write papers in cafés because it removed me from all my stuff while I was working so I couldn't procrastinate, but it still gave me a responsible means of taking a break (By "responsible" I mean not getting up to go to the bathroom and suddenly deciding that I need to clean out my old makeup by shampooing all the applicator brushes and wiping the containers down with little scraps of damp toilet paper, and then looking up 3 hours later and wondering where all the time has gone). And when I wasn't writing, I was watching people.

When I decided to write the Great American Novel, it was only natural for me to try to find a café to do it in... Only I had moved, and there weren't any.

So I made one up. I became my own barrista, slotted my own jazz CDs, and opened Café Tor. Café Tor is wherever and whenever I need it to be in order to have that comfortable place to write in. It is the café within a café, where the lighting is right and my music is on, and I am at last able to unfurl and muse. But sometimes... I miss the people.

Which is where you come in. So now that we're all wearing our black berets and dark sunglassess... Welcome to Café Tor.