Mary Anne Mohanraj


November 27 -- 1:03 PM

Cancer log 140: It turned out that the reason my wait was so long today is that the receptionist at the Day Hospital who checked me in for chemo had accidentally put my papers in the wrong pile, so they'd lost track of me completely. If I hadn't eventually gone up and asked what was up, I might have sat there all day. She was super-apologetic (even a little teary), and I got a $5 meal card and a $5 parking pass for my trouble, so all's well that ends well. I should have asked earlier, I'm sure, but y'know, I'm overly polite sometimes.

If I'd been home, I would've probably been doing the same goofing off things as here, so one could argue that I actually turned a profit on the whole business. Still, Kevin probably would have rather I'd come home at 11:30 instead of 2; hopefully, the kids haven't been giving him too hard a time this morning.

Treatment itself will be starting soon, as soon as they meds are ready, which they usually don't have mixed up until the needle's in (I guess because sometimes people have such bad veins, etc. that they *can't* get it in that day, and it wastes the meds? Not sure.). We tried inserting the needle into a vein instead of the port, because my port has shifted and tilted a bit, making it harder to access, but that did *not* go well; she dug around the vein for a bit, trying to get it to work, and my old vasovagal reflex thing kicked in and I almost fainted. I *hate* those symptoms -- cold and shaky and the room blurs around you. I told the nurse when it started happening, did my deep breathing, and she got the needle out, my feet elevated, my body tilted flat in the fancy chair they put us in, some cold water to sip, and we managed to stave off the actual losing consciousness, so that was something. Still, yuck. But on the plus side, the nurse thought it might be worth trying to access the port with me lying down, and in fact, that did make it noticeably easier to get to -- that position pushes it up, less tilted and closer to the surface. So one quick, nasty jab got it in, as opposed to the digging around we've had the last several months. A noticeable improvement.

I guess I'm learning how to be a better patient, which is...something? It'd be nice to just be done, though. Four more weeks of radiation, eleven more months (every three weeks) of Herceptin. Maybe hormones too -- will be talking to my oncologist about that on 12/14, so we'll see. Long haul.

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November 24 -- 7:34 AM

Plan for today: Watch Castle, go to radiation, teach classes, do a half hour of paperwork in office, go to gym and swim (the last week has been a little sedentary with lots of sitting and grading, and I'm starting to feel sluggish), come home and finish making the rich cake with Kevin to help stir (it gets to be hard work!), do an hour of e-mail, finalize Thanksgiving menu.

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November 23 -- 5:25 PM

Carmen Machado​ is the winner of the 2015 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants From the Speculative Literature Foundation

Fiction writer, critic and essayist Carmen Maria Machado has received the 2015 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants from the Speculative Literature Foundation. The two $500 awards support any purpose that writer recipients may choose to benefit their work.

The $500 Diverse Writers grant is "intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process." The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is "intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background."

Carmen's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review, AGNI, NPR, Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as other publications. Her stories have also appeared in the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and Best Women’s Erotica. In 2015, she was awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Philadelphia with her partner.

Carmen is "thrilled to receive the Speculative Literature Foundation's Diverse Writers & Diverse Worlds grants this year." She is an adjunct teacher and a freelancer. Her recent projects—stories, a novel-in-progress, and a book-length essay—have been stalled as she tried to make ends meet. The grant will give her "space to cut back on quite a few freelancing assignments in the upcoming year," enabling her to spend more time with these projects.

The combined grants received a total of 97 applicants. Ten finalists were named for each grant, as well as three honorable mentions. Receiving the Diverse Writers Grant Honorable Mention are Kathrin Köhler, Sara Rivera, and Jane Ann MacLachlan. Honorable Mention Awardees for the Diverse Worlds Grant are Kathrin Köhler, Sussanah Betts, and Shawn Frazier.

When discussing the awards, Carmen wrote, "Searching for stories by and about people like me, and stories by and about people who aren't like me, can be a grief-laden, exhausting process. The Diverse Writers/Diverse Worlds grants give writers resources for their work that explores and explodes the status quo. This expansion of the literary landscape is good for everyone."

She added, "I would encourage any writer applying for grants and fellowships to be persistent—doubly so if you find yourself in the exciting but frustrating position of being a finalist or runner-up. Every single writing fellowship/grant/etc. that I've received, I've gotten after being rejected for it at least once (often, more than once) and after coming very close in years prior. There's an element of unpredictability to this process—who is on the committee or jury, for example, or who is in the applicant pool with you—and those things change, and sometimes those changes work in your favor. But also when you apply to things persistently, your work, too, is changing—becoming stronger or sleeker or weirder, coming more into itself. And sometimes those things you can't control work in your favor, and the progress of your writing works in your favor, and there's a perfect storm. So keep applying—you never know what'll happen."

Founded in January, 2004 to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, the all-volunteer Foundation is led by Mary Anne Mohanraj and 30 other committed volunteers. The Foundation maintains a comprehensive website offering information for readers, writers, editors and publishers of speculative fiction, develops book lists and outreach materials for schools and libraries, and raises funds for redistribution to other organizations in the field, as well as four awards made annually to writers, of which the Diverse Writers and World Grants are two. The others include the Gulliver Travel Research Grant, Older Writers Grant, and the Working Class Writers Grant. For more information about the Speculative Literature Foundation, contact Malon Edwards at or visit the website at

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November 23 -- 4:35 PM

Four papers to go. Here's the question -- I can do them in an hour....or I can procrastinate the rest of the day away, feeling guilty the whole time, and then do them either just before bed or early tomorrow morning. History has shown that I tend to the latter, but they say that those who don't learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them, or something like that.

Place your bets, gentle beings.

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November 21 -- 9:58 PM

Big set of papers tomorrow. Grade and cook, grade and cook. I think that's going to be my plan for getting through them -- every time I grade four papers (about an hour's worth of work, on average), I get to take a break and make milk toffee, or truffles, or something along those lines. Deal with e-mail and cook also acceptable, as I've started to fall seriously behind again. The last few weeks of the semester are always a mad sprint, and losing six hours a week to radiation is not helping! I have *two* story ideas that I want to write, but I think I won't be able to get to them 'til Wednesday at the earliest. And then there's this cooking-for-Thanksgiving thing to think about....

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