Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


I hit a writing snag in August, so none of the three short stories I started during that month have turned into anything I'd want another human being to see. I tried to take some time off to recharge myself by reading, but that didn't work out so well. I mean, I read a lot of books, including The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, and Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris (verdict: I liked the first season of the HBO series better. Blasphemy! I know.), but I couldn't even finish editing the story I wrote in July, much less write something new. The truth might be that I'm a horrible writer destined to never finish anything, but I'd prefer to blame my sudden, paralyzing writer's block on Important Announcement #1:

Important Announcement #1: I am going to library school.
After my quarter-life freak-out last year, I decided to enroll in grad school to earn my Master of Library Science degree. I'm going to be doing this online, while working full-time, so that's naturally going to cut into the amount of time I have for blogging. Never fear! You can keep yourself entertained by reading my friend Stephanie Perkins's exciting and and perinially entertaining blog, Natural/Artificial. Or you can immerse yourself in the work of the marvelous Kate Beaton, mistress of the comic arts and devotee of all things historic and literary, at Hark, a Vagrant. (You can see one of my favorites here.) If those two don't keep you entertained, I'm sorry, you're a lost cause.

Important Announcement #2: My short story, "Bad Matter," is going to be coming out in the December/January issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction this year. Woo hoo! My friends and family have been asking me about this ever since I sort of called everyone I know and told them about selling my first story to an actual, real, live magazine. F&SF also bought the rights to a second story, "Amor Fugit," though I won't know when that one will be published for a while yet.

I was telling my mother about the second story when she and two of my siblings came to visit earlier this summer. My mother had read my first story, which is set on a space station, but not the second, which is most definitely not. I should mention, for the record, that my mother is not a fan of science ficiton or fantasy. I think my own love for it kind of baffles her, but she's curious, all the same, in a very motherly way. Our conversation went something like this.

Me: I just finished another story.

Mom: Oh, what's it about?

Me: Well, it's kind of a love story. . .

Mom: (excited) In space?!

I love my mom.

Important Announcement #3: This is by far the most groundbreaking, most momentous of tonight's announcements. I'll give you some space to prepare yourselves. . .

(Are you sitting down?)

I learned to make boba tea!

For those of you who haven't experienced the wonder of boba tea, it is a sweet drink popular throughout Asia. You can fix it any number of different ways, but its most distinguishing characteristic is the presence of tapioca pearls resting at the bottom of the drink. I like mine with black tea and milk. I fell in love with it at a party my roomate and I went to in college, and I've been pining after it ever since. So far, I haven't been able to find good boba tea in Asheville, so I broke down and decided to make my own.

I found my recipe here, although you may want to cut down on the amount
of sugar called for in the syrup component, unless you're part fruit fly or something. I was planning to take pictures of the drink I made in its finished state, but unfortunately, I drank it all. Here's a picture of what it would have looked like, if I had exercised enough self-control to photograph it before drinking every last drop.
(image source here)

Look at the milky tea goodness! Look at those giant, gummy, black tapioca pearls! Look at the ginormous straw you get to drink it out of! This is not just a drink, it is a multisensory experience. If you're one of my friends, I am planning to inflict this on you at some point.

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