I love the light over the bridge of her nose, and her eyes full of all the mysteries she sees.
(This friend has an art tumblr here and an online shop here.)
browngirl also sent me some absolutely beautiful art of her own creating, which I want to share, but which I'll wait on, so you can enjoy each artist's work without distraction.
Rarely have I had two novels both so fully present in my head at the same time. It plays hell with my concentration. I am, however, determined to get both of them written. Just maybe not at the same time…
I’m about ninety pages into rewriting Philadelphia. I’ve fallen totally, hopelessly in love with this book again. And Josh…I’d forgotten how much I loved that character, and how completely attached I am to Lori. Emotional attachment to both the story and the characters is important for me.
The pleasant surprise for me at 90/456 pages is how little I’ve had to change. I’ve filled in a few holes, expanded on some information, and done sentence level stuff, but so far–knock on oak–the story works. Color me pleased.
This book is flat out, unapologetically, dark adult fantasy. No falling between genre cracks with this one. And it is positively oozing girl cooties out of every single paragraph.
You know that line in The Princess Bride, where the boy asks his grandfather, “Wait…is this a kissing book?”
This? Is a kissing book. A very dark kissing book, but the romance and the relationships are strong in this one. You’ve been warned.
I want to get that out there early, and will repeat it often. I don’t want any false expectations floating around.
Work grows more insane by the day. Fifteen days before Christmas, in a short shopping season, and it can’t be anything but insane. So much stress, so many frantic people.
But! Only fifteen more days.
Sleep now. I have to face the madness in the morning.
Why care about Mike Ditka and Aliquippa? Well, they retired his #89 Chicago Bears jersey during halftime of the Dallas-Bears Monday Night Football game on ESPN tonight. And Aliquippa is where my father -- and a whole passel of Kaldons are from -- though my father was born more than twenty years before Sitka.
Mike has been a colorful character, both as player and coach, and on and off the field. I understand that his Ditkas restaurants are excellent steak houses, and one of the cooking competition shows, The Next Food Network Star or Top Chef?, used his new line of sausages during one event. (grin)
But most of us know Mike as the charismatic coach who took the Bears to the 26 January 1986 Super Bowl XX. New Orleans Superdome. Chicago Bears-46 New England Patriots-10. "Ditka has stated that one of his biggest regrets in life was not letting Walter Payton score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, instead opting for Jim McMahon to run it in twice and rookie defensive tackle William "The Refrigerator" Perry to run it in once."
As For Monday Night Football...
Chicago Bears-45 Dallas Cowboys-28. Bears are 7-6, tied for first in their division.
It was cold at Soldier Field, 7°F -- the fourth coldest home game in Chicago Bears history. And it technically isn't even winter yet.
No doubt Iron Mike was thrilled all the way around.
Notched another 2300 words on the Apocalypse Pictures Presents rewrite—or, to put it in Magic Meter terms:
That’s not very much, frankly. Establishing a good rhythm has been challenging. Maybe I need a metronome.
On the plus side, recasting chapter 3 in a different POV went pretty well. So there’s that.
Snippet? Sure, if you insist:
“Say that again,” he said.
He gestured impatiently, his hand fluttering. “What you just said. What was it?”
“I said, there might not even be a Manhattan anymore.”
He dug in his pocket, produced a pencil. He flipped to the end of the notebook and began scribbling in the dark. She watched, baffled, wondering how he could ever hope to read it later, given how fast he was writing.
“Give me a minute.”
He’d gone rigid, except for the scribbling hand, as if someone had hit him with a jolt from a car battery. He scrawled for a full minute without stopping, filling a page.
Finally, he paused, noticed Susan watching him, her mouth slightly open. She didn’t know whether to be amazed or concerned.
“Manhattan,” he said. “That’s the answer.”
No updates for Write Club.
Here’s hoping for better days ahead.
- Current Music:"Overture"--The Who
Given the regular cycle of someone complaining there's just too much diversity, and characters need a special reason not to be privileged all the way down or it's gratuitous, I've been pondering my experiences of self-publishing. Not so much the actual book production and sales part of it, but what it's meant for my stories.
I've always known I've self-censored things. It was obvious with stories about non-binary people, because I'd had direct rejections complaining about my portrayal of men and women. A man would never say that. A woman would never do that. The reader won't know this character is a woman, so you better make sure to say it in the first paragraph, so they're not jarred by this un-womanly person turning out to be a woman. These were characters who did broadly identify as men and women... they just didn't entirely fit the masculine male and feminine female moulds. Editors who had issues with this were not going to be able to cope with a character who directly identified as trans or was otherwise outside the Western binary system.
So non-binary character stories got pushed down the list of things I needed to finish. They weren't going to sell, and I'm not that fast at writing, so other stories got priority.
But there was more going on, as I realised when it came to self-publishing a collection. When I went through the list of unfinished stories, there were a reasonable number about people with multiple marginalised identities. I hadn't consciously pushed these down the list of stories to finish. Editors generally know better than to reply to a story with a rejection saying they think a character can't be Asian and blind at the same time, even if it's what they believe (whereas they do still tend to see policing gendered behaviour as fair game for saying outright). And yet, these were the stories in the unfinished pile. I'd internalised that they wouldn't sell and it'd be seen as ticking off the boxes (which is ridiculous, as I'm a real person who owns many boxes, but I know it's how people think).
Then there were the stories that hadn't make it as far as the unfinished story folder. Anything too out there, or too different, didn't get past the initial idea. I've had more than enough "too strange" rejections to be sensitive to that. Possibly a little over-sensitive about whether others will find it strange.
When it came to my novel, things went down a little differently. One of the viewpoint characters is Native American and two spirit, so I'd chosen a multiply marginalised person with an identity outside Western gender roles. I knew at the time it'd make the book a hard sell. But I pulled my punches in places, because my target audience is rarely found among agents and editors. I knew I had to get the story past them, so I edged around some subjects. Again, it often wasn't intentional, but that worry was always looming when I wrote it. Only on deciding to self-publish, and reading it with a view to the fact that no one had to approve the story, did I really acknowledge the extent of what was happening.
The sad thing about it is I was probably right. There are a few markets who publish a lot of diverse stories, but if I'm rejected by those few (which as likely as the competition is fierce), that's the story done. No one else will want it. In the case of novels, out of the agents who say they want diversity, there aren't many I feel confident really get it.
It's not that I think self-publishing will make me a lot of money or anything of that nature. What it has done is provide an alternative. I can look at my first collection and consider writing the stories missing from it, because the second collection will most likely be published in the same way. This doesn't mean I'm anti trade publishing. I want it to open up and I'll keep submitting things. But looking back, I can see what happened when it was my only option. I didn't write a lot of things I wanted to write, because I knew the person judging it wouldn't be like me.
I don't have to get through the gates anymore. It'd be nice, but it's optional. What this will mean for my stories, I don't know. But I no longer feel I have to hold back. I have a safety net, so my diversity can be as gratuitous as I want.
It's a very metafictional homage storything about monster movies, and making your own choices, it's a love story full of mad science, and it makes me happy. <3
Title: "To the Monsters, With Love"
Date: written 12/9/13
Shiny: Homage to classic monster movies, plus mad science and metafiction!
(Normally I would want to object to brain not focusing on finals which are THIS WEEK OMG but it's hard to object to this little piece. Although now I really do need to go write down ALl The Thoughts on the last scene of Hiroshima Mon Amour...)
But I do just want to record this morning's incident, because I don't think it has ever happened to me before. I've been a lucid dreamer all my life, frequently aware that I was dreaming even as I dreamed; the passage from dreaming to waking is frequently marked by a transition from 3-D full-colour all-immersive action to frank narrative, text on a page and my own voice selecting it word by word; there is of course a long history of writers reworking their dreams into fiction; and nevertheless. This was the first time I have ever paused in mid-dream to think, "Y'know, this could surely be worked up into a YA novel..."
I will, of course, never write it; but it would have been called At the Back of the Sixth Wind, which was what a bell-boy said when he was directing me to a hidden stairwell in a troubled hotel; and what he meant was a door behind the number 6 on a great clockface, and the clock still worked but they had forgotten its purpose and thought it was a malfunctioning wind-gauge, because of course their winds came in a vertical plane, up or down the staircases and lift-shafts.
You are organized and orderly. You're good at fixing problems and making sense of chaos.
You are one of the few people who doesn't mind stepping up to lead. You act decisively when the occasion calls for it.
You are very competent, and because you are so capable, you don't collect opinions and advice. You rely on yourself instead.
You like to do things your way, which makes it hard for you to follow others. Compromise does not come easily to you.
Take the ugly sweater test here
And now Chuck is here to fix our new
The hose'll thaw out when the sun gets on it, after noon. Meantime, perhaps I should put on something warmer. *shudders*
Random quote of the day:
“The cynicism you have is not your real soul.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.
Mirrored from Better Than Dead.
Anyway, Frozen is highly recommended by the prejudiced me.
One baby left at home leaves three "guest" rooms in my house. We are not ready to downsize. The market's just not there yet, and--honestly--we just love our house so much. It will be too big, the grounds too much to handle in time. For now, it's a great house for the kids to "come home" to--which they are all doing for Christmas.
Painting will be finished either today or tomorrow. The rooms will be set up by the weekend. Come Christmas, everyone will have a room to stay in. My office will be freshly painted a gorgeous sunset orange. Last weekend, Frank and I got out the big ladder and dusted every wall, fan, picture and fixture. The house sparkles! But damn, it was a lot of work.
Once it's all done, I'll post pics. I'm so excited. It's almost like having a NEW house. :) (And LJ is doing that strange thing that I can't type in this post box without a "write mail" thingy up. What a strange glitch. I'm really starting to believe it's ME and now LJ.)
My Friend Amy's Blog has posted a review of Deadline, written before the release of Blackout. There are no good pull quotes, although it's a very thoughtful review; there are Feed spoilers and comparisons throughout.
Want Some has posted a review of Feed, and says, " Tl;dr: Not your average zombie fare, highly recommended, part 1 in the Newsflesh Trilogy." I kinda admire the brevity.
Errant Dreams has posted a review of One Salt Sea, and says, "All in all, I found One Salt Sea to be another solid addition to the October Daye series. Its slower emotional pacing (because of the similar kidnapping plot) gave me a chance to sit back and watch changes being played out without the entire combination being too overwhelming." And this is why sometimes, types of case repeat.
Happy Booker has posted a review of Feed, and says, " My masochistic heart can do nothing but rate this book a full 5 stars. I have to commend Mira Grant on how she managed to create such a compelling story and include zombies (which I don't even like btw) and introduce me to these amazing characters that I have no choice but to fall completely in love with and then, without warning, take it all away. I can almost picture the sadistic smile on this author's face as she gleefully ripped my heart out, stomped on it, then poked it a few times with Shaun's zombie stick, leaving me a broken, sobbing mess. Nice, Mira Grant, very nice." Yay!
Finally for today, Morgan and Whitney have dished on Discount Armageddon. Lots of fun, some great points; I recommend taking a look.
Next, the weather.
- Current Mood: rushed
- Current Music:Frozen, "Let It Go."
I had a particularly strenuous workout at cardiac rehab, on a cold morning where I had been seriously tempted to pack it in. So my post-workout reward of one (1) Dunkin’ Donuts decaf iced coffee was exceptionally satisfying.
And I was tempted to Tweet my one word of triumph:
Which would have been a valid thing to Tweet. I mean, there’s no invalid thing to Tweet. It’s your social media, and you define your voice.
But my voice is generally not in-jokes, and that’s what I think of an in-joke Tweet – it only makes sense in context. If you know me well enough to know my mild addiction to Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee, my fulminating rants about how Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in Ohio is never quite as good as it is in New England (which is stone-cold truth), and my joy at finding one, then you’d know this all-capped shout is some sort of joy. If you knew me really well, then you’d know this was early morning on a weekday, and I must have just finished my workout, and thus would be able to piece together the context of this joy.
But otherwise? That’s not a Tweet for an audience. That’s a Tweet I posted for me, and maybe a secret signal to a select handful in the know.
That’s an in-joke Tweet.
And I see a lot of that mysterious social broadcasting going on, particularly on Facebook – which works really well for those who do know these people, and that cryptic cry of “DUNKIES” often leads to conversational threads like “…whup that treadmill!” and “Check the hottie!” and reinforces a small and exultant culture. For these kinds of social profiles, you really had to be there.
But to those of us on the outside, a constant stream of “Jerry said what?”s and “The tuna boat: incoming”s and so forth make literally zero sense. And I don’t know whether people who primarily interact with their social page of choice realize they make no sense to much of their audience – because quite often, I’m their friend and I have no frickin’ idea what they’re going on about – or simply don’t care, because to them Twitter is just a place for them to blurt out random things from their brain whenever they see fit.
As for me, though, I usually try to be a little more informative, so that Tweet might read something more like:
Just finished a brutal cardiac rehab session. Soaked in sweat, will soon be filled with delicious iced coffee from Dunkies.
Which is definitely contextual. It’s also pretty mundane.
Weirdly enough, this second sort of Twitter-broadcast – which I call the factual, as opposed to the in-joke – gets a lot less response. If I post DUNKIES WHOO, then the handful of jamooks who got the reference feel an urge to reply to show me they’re one of the club, and as such the in-jokes pile up replies. But if I frame it all in context, then what I have here is pretty run-of-the-mill. I mean, it wasn’t an exceptional workout – no medical injuries, no breakthrough treadmill times – and I do it three times a week, so maybe I’d get a scattered “Go you!” or two, but mostly people would nod their heads and e-move on.
It keeps you in touch with me, for sure, so when we meet you’ll have conversational grist for the mill – “How’s your rehab going?” – but as far as inspiring a network of online interaction, it ain’t much. But you’ll at least be able to follow what the hell is going on in my life from a distance, unlike the in-joke world.
And then there’s the performance Tweet. This is what John Scalzi and many other popular Tweeterers specialize in, where you take the mundane thing you’re doing and make some kind of joke out of it, like:
Just worked out to clear the fat from my sclerosed veins. Now in line at Dunkies to get iced coffee to refill said veins with coffee-flavored cream.
No, wait, that’s not terribly witty. How about:
My post-workout ritual: double-cream, double-sugar iced coffee from Dunkies. I AM THE KING OF UNWISE IDEAS.
No, not punchy enough. How about -
- and so on. Which is the problem of the performance Tweet – you feel a little stupid if you spend more than a minute or two thinking up a Facebook post, because crap, it feels all kinds of egotistic to spend fifteen minutes composing The Perfect Tweet. You worry you’re becoming the Plus 97 Guy, pouring ridiculously amounts of effort into something nobody cares about. And then if nobody responds, man, have you lost your edge? Where’s the validation in social media? Man, I’m down twelve likes from last week, what do I need to do to grab these people?
Which, you know, stupid. You’re not writing for How I Met Your Mother, you’re talking about a goddamned iced coffee. Idiot.
But there I am, waiting in line at the Dunkies, composing…
I usually oscillate between the factual and the performance Tweet, starting by trying to say something terribly witty and then degrading gracefully (as they say in the web biz) into a mere factual Tweet if I can’t find a funny spin that fits in 140 characters. And honestly, I’m probably a worse Tweeterer because if I just used the sweat of my brow to put in the good time, devising a truly funny joke before I dare hit post, I’d be magnificent. But I go for the cheap joke, and man, where is my commitment to the form?
But that’s the downside, isn’t it? When you’re a performer, you’re a performer. And I’m not entirely sure I do want my Twitter to be performance art. I want it to be me, and I want it to be inviting so that you’re welcome to become a part of my online world, and if you want to know me, well, ‘ere I am, JH.
(That last bit was an in-joke. But that was a movie reference. SOMETIMES I DO THAT OKAY?)
So I dunno. It’s just odd to think that hey, for a throwaway line on Twitter to chronicle the oh-so-pressing business of my coffee consumption, I can think of at least three serious approaches to spamming 3,000 people with covert Dunkin’ Donuts advertisements. There are probably more.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359261.h
The two very different associated meanings come from there being two very different plants called amaranth. The first is what the ancient Greeks actually called amáranton (lit. the unfading), a mythical plant with flowers that never fade that grows in the Elysian fields, where the blessed dead reside. This name was applied in the 1550s to a genus of ornamental plants (also cultivated as a cereal) with long-lasting flowers with the color above.
Now this doesn't apply to all writers, but I suspect there are a lot of us who feel this way.
For me, I'm highly conscious that a lot of people wouldn't enjoy my writing. In addition, in real life, most people I know have no clue what I write. Most RL people I know don't read much. That's OK, but when they ask what my book's about, I know I'll just sound insane to them...and they really don't care. They're making conversation.
It's easier if you're talking to a selected audience, like a convention audience or on a blog. Those people -do- generally understand what we're talking about. A lot of them are writers themselves.
But we still deal with the 'they might not be interested in what I do.'
Then there's the second part of this....when someone asks you that, they usually want a short description. Now remember, novelists write things that are likely 80K+. Giving a 140 word description is pretty hard for us. It's NOT our milieu. (No matter how many times we're told to prepare an elevator pitch.)
So when someone asks about what I write, I'm both self conscious and aware that if I give my book a real description, I'll probably yack their socks off.
(Other writers don't have this problem. I was at a convention recently where a guy in the audience managed to describe -his- short story in detail every time he asked a panel a question. I simply don't have that sort of chutzpah.)
So here's my pitch: In an alternate 1902 Portugal, a sereia must join forces with a police consultant to stop a killer seeking to change the very fabric of history itself.
That's the best I've got.
Christmas has twelve days–at least, according to the song it does–so I thought I’d do you the favor of sharing 12 Giftmas nopes (presents you really want nothing to do with. Here you go:
2. A belly button brush. For the disgusting Pig Pen in your life.
4. Generic “Weener Kleener” Soap. I assume it has that name because of the shape. “Fits most men!”
5. Real nightvision goggles for kids. Only someone desperate to be the “cool aunt/cool uncle” would buy this, especially if they wanted to be cut out of their siblings’ will.
7. A single blue-raspberry flavored Gummi Bear that weighs five pounds. In case you want to spend months gnawing on something vaguely bear-cub shaped.
8. A goatee-shaving template. Don’t bother pointing out that it’s actually a Van Dyke. That battle’s lost.
9. A Unisex Adult The Big Lebowski The Dude Wig and Beard Kit. In case your loved one has too much pride to use a shaving template.
10. A Nose Shower Gel Dispenser. For people who want to imagine themselves rubbing snot all over their bodies.
11. A coffee mug shaped like a toilet bowl. For loved ones trying to quit coffee.
12. Shittens. Not a typo.
Be honest now. You’re tempted by the pink rabbit fur poncho, aren’t you?
Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here but not there.
In June, the SFWA Board announced the suspension of the SFWA Bulletin, allowing time to update our official publication’s distribution, content, and process. Over the past months, we have surveyed the membership, asking them what they see as the future of the Bulletin. We’ve also held Board and Task Force discussions and reviewed similar newsletters. We believe these things has helped us to understand the needs and wants of our members and given us direction for making change. One thing is unambiguously clear from our members’ responses: the Bulletin is an important service and must continue.
Using the survey results as a guide, we have written a job description for the editorial position which will be open to qualified applicants both inside and outside SFWA. When the position is filled, the new editor will begin work on a revamped Bulletin.
However, in the interim, we will publish a special edition of the Bulletin. This special issue will not represent either the Bulletin as it existed in the past, nor will it represent the future Bulletin that will be created by the new editor. Instead, this one-time, stand-alone edition will focus on describing SFWA and capturing its past, present and future. It will provide information about SFWA’s services and capacities, address questions about how SFWA can help members in their careers, and include articles on the state of the industry and of various SFWA projects. In addition to providing useful information for our current members, this issue will also be used in future to promote the organization at tradeshows, conferences, and other events.
This edition will be edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts with assistance from Jaym Gates, on behalf of the president and the Bulletin task force. The issue will be available in mid-Winter (Jan/Feb) 2014.
We thank you for your patience, and look forward to a long and bright future for the Bulletin. More announcements about its new editor and structure will be forthcoming.
Like SFWA, the Bulletin will draw on past and future alike.
One thing I took some time at was reading the reviews of books where my tales have appeared. I will be peppering my next few posts with links to the interesting ones, but I'm particularly proud of this one, which talks about one of my erotic stories (something I don't often write - but I'm glad to see people enjoying them when I do). One thing about this review is that the book's cover is absolutely perfect for the theme, and has just a little bit of shock value (you can see it at the lnk, or here - slightly NSFW).
Also wrote a few hundred words into an SF tale, so satisfying progress all around!
I know. It’s already December 9th and this is my first post. I think everyone gets a free pass in December. The month is so hectic even it doesn’t know if it’s coming or going.
Now my fantastic excuse is out of the way – my month has been very hectic. Not that it’s surprising. But what with the Christmas Tree, a precariously standing by herself little one, edits and a whopping new plotbunny that won’t leave me the hell alone – I think I’m slowly losing my mind.
So far, my little goal list isn’t looking too rosy
- Edit L – I have started this. Not sure if I’ll finish it December at this rate, but it’ll be ready early January.
- Finish Christmas shopping – soooo close to finishing this
Organize Baby’s Christmas– DONE
- Get Jan 2014 WM sign up done – Doing this this week.
- CP stuff – always an in progress
Brainstorm AI’s new formChanging this to brainstorming D. Because D snuck up and hit me in the back of the head.
- Set up at least 3 process posts in advance – yeeeeeaaaahhhh about that
- BABEH! – well always
So it’s not looking too terrible.
I think I’m looking forward to 2014. Maybe I can find a better rhythm then. 2013 has been all sorts of disorganized for me. I’m almost dreading taking a look at my new years resolutions from January because I don’t think I got even half of them done haha.
This plotbunny that’s trying to eat my brain alive isn’t exactly new, but the twist it’s taken is. And it won’t let me go. I’m researching it, and thinking about it constantly. I love it, and yet, I keep wondering if it’s going to work in the setting I’m planning to write it… Still not so sure about that. All needs to be plausible you see Oh well, we’ll see how I go once I start outlining BWAH HAH HAH!
Let’s not talk about the cold. I’m not a cold person and this weather is putting me in a decidedly I-miss-my-sunny-home-town-Christmas mood.
Hope you’re all having a fantastic December so far and that it only gets better.
got to jog -got to make a cookie or two
Have a great week.
It's always an elevator that goes sideways, or an elevator without any walls, or an elevator that plummets at weird times, or an elevator that's only to the bottom half of a building, and in order to get to the top, you have to climb out a window on the 4th floor, and up a drainpipe, and through someone's rooftop garden to get where you need to go.
Stress dreams. Mine often involve elevators and trains. And, most recently, rocking chairs.
I visited my Kiri in Mid-November. I met her 1 year old daughter for the first time, and her 3 year old daughter for the first time since she was younger than 1. I needed to do this for many reasons.
Amal then swooped in from Glasgow and played with us. She and Kiri caught me in the crossbeams of their love, and made me incandescent.
I don't know what we deserve; I don't know anything about karma; I don't really believe the world is fair. That kind of love seems unfair, it is so radiant and glorious. It is how we should love when we can, I think, because our wicks are not long, are they, even if we live a hundred years, and this world is such a big, big fire.
This was one of the reasons I'd visited. Because my friend's ailment over the summer could have snatched her right away, and then... what? And then.
We went to the Cliffs of Moher. Before that, we did have a brief night out in a park, where we three walked along the pond and shared tea in the rainy darkness and got to know each other better. Mostly we played with babies and chatted in the kitchen. Oh, and I did watch a few episodes of FRINGE, on Kiri's insistence.
Mmn, and I'd watch more of that, just for the YUMMY CAST! Wouldn't I just?
It was the kind of house filled with art that came from Italy, or the artist on the corner who happens to be a friend, and also happens to be a bit famous. The kind of house filled with instruments, and firelight, and a long table that has known many meals.
And my friend and his wife had their family around them, but they also had the waifs and strays, and Sita and I were among these, but mostly we felt like we were home.
It was the kind of house on an island. The kind of house that nestles between the twin opals of bay and sky, where the twilight lasts forever, and the water is clear and the rocks are dark and slippery with moss, and all you want to do is sit in the bitter wind and watch the night rise right up from the waves.
Then fall asleep on the couch, full of food and warmth. Safe.
4.) Affairs of the Heart, Beautiful Gentlemen, What's Passing By
I had an extremely interesting autumn. Playful, educational, kindly, and ephemeral.
It was unexpected. It was what I wanted. It never pretended to be anything else but exactly what it was. It lasted just as long as it should have.
It is now winter.
I am myself again.
There are verses in Greg Brown's "Rexroth's Daughter" appropriate for nearly every occasion worth writing about. So glad he did all the song-writing work so that I did not have to bother. For this, ever shall I uphold poets and musicians.
I will now go back to one of my favorite lines, which you have probably all seen me quote before. All three of you.
"This life is a thump-ripe melon
So sweet and such a mess..."
I made callbacks for "In the Next Room."
So that's happening this Wednesday, the 11th, which is the eve of my 32nd birthday.
And I guess I want to say here - so that I can see on the page what I've only been thinking or working out out-loud (always useful) - that even though I love this play to pieces, and think that it's the CAT'S PAJAMAS, and think it's terribly important, and even though I DO DESIRE to be in it, MOST ARDENTLY, I know that:
A.) I'm at an awkward age for two of the characters, and
B.) An awkward body type for the third.
I am not perfect for any of the three roles available to me, and this play deserves a perfect cast. I'm willing to do my best at callbacks and rock it while I can, because AUDITIONS ARE FUN!!!
But I'm… I'm trying to detach from the outcome.
I used to hate the word "detachment." Even my mother's nice Buddhist-like way of using it. The older I get the better I like it.
I think I never wanted anything to do with the word before because I have had in childhood and teenagerhood such difficulty attaching to this world at all. And I wanted to connect. I wanted to be completely present, in my own skin, in my own time.
Like Bastion in the Neverending Story, "I have to keep my feet on the ground," because my natural state is one of otherworlds and window-dreaming. It was always hard enough living here, being present to community, learning to be in my body, and to look around, and love what I saw, even though it is ugly and hard work, and there aren't any, you know, unicorns lurking at street corners. Or whatever.
Also, if I don't get into the play, that means more time for writing. Which is a win-win-AND-WIN-SOME-MORE situation.
(Does this sound like pre-grieving to you? It's this habit I have. I always freak out before the fact, so it doesn't catch me by surprise later. It's backwards. But I suspect it is because I have what Julia Rios calls "a narrative brain.")
(Oh, and I have started writing again. Nice after November's dearth. It is difficult to write in the upheaval of travel, I find.)
Anne and Erica took me to the Yale Cabaret, to a show called "Bound to Burn." It was a movement-based theatre piece, with no dialogue. A pop-ballad soundtrack. What text there was, was written on the floor and walls. Depending on which scene was lit, different phrases popped from the set.
The three main visual metaphors that pulled the whole piece together were: the ring, the white rose, the white scarf. Here were my instant associations with the images:
- Fairy Tales
- Female factory workers
What does this tell me?
That when using a visual metaphor, it is best to be HIGHLY SPECIFIC about what it means.
What did this remind me of?
That an entire story can have an object at and for its center. It's why we playwrights always had to choose a prop during 24 festivals, and make sure it made its way onstage.
I'd only ever been to New Haven before to take a commuter train to New York City. It was good to come to a strange city. To drive through the night with a friend. To see something urgent and experimental. Reminded me of Columbia College Chicago.
Strange, how theatre has always - since my childhood - been a place of homesickness. What are we homesick for? Ritual? Catharsis? Communal dreamtime? Damned if I know.
The ladies paid for my ticket and for my food, as a birthday present. Which brings me to…
7.) The Courtesies
At the Yale Cab we got to talking around the table about feminism. One of the ladies mentioned that, when dating, it had been very important for her to buy her own meals. I turned to my other friend and said, "Jeez, I'd let anyone pay for my meal, male or female, whether or not we're dating."
I don't know if this makes me a bad feminist, or just extremely poor.
(Okay. So I know I'm ONE of the two.)
Here's the thing I was thinking, though. I LOVE paying for other people's meals. When I have money, I want to pay for ALL THE MEALS. Mine and everyone else's. You know why? Because I love when people buy me meals. I love it. And I like to do what I like other people to do to me. Maybe it's part of being a mimetic human being, maybe it's an unconscious tab I'm running with the universe and laws of "What Goes Around Comes Around," I don't know. You got me.
You know what else I like? I like holding doors open for people. Men, women, people who don't adhere to the binary, whatever. You know what else I like? When people hold the doors open for me. It thrills me.
My friend Sam once held my jacket for me while I put it on. I think I almost got light-headed. Major swoonage. At any opportunity thereafter, where it was appropriate, or necessary, I have enjoyed providing that service for other friends, or, say, Sita, or WHOEVER. Because until he held my coat for me, I had NO IDEA what pleasure having a coat held could bring.
I like grand courtly gestures, I like gifts, I like banter, I like when people SHOW UP, I like when people invite me, I love making food for other people, and dang, but I love when other people make me food.
And I think this is a kind of feminism, but it's not the same kind of feminism as having to insist, most fiercely, on paying your own way. I think the fact that I don't have to fight so hard must be due to this EPIC BATTLE that came before my time, that's still being waged, but maybe not, like, in my own neighborhood.
My time for donning my breastplate and girding myself for war may yet come, but it hasn't yet. I suppose I could seek out battles, but I'm not really... confrontational. Maybe I should be. Sigh. Again, I don't know.
I hope I'm ready when it comes. I hope I find my own strong voice. But just the fact that I've been (more or less) a single woman, 85% of the time by my own vehement choice for the last 15 years (give or take), and have not been victim of society's censure because of it, but am as much of a person as my best friend who's a wife, and my other best friend who's a world traveler, and any number of my guy friends, and my brothers, I mean… That's huge, isn't it?
It's SO not a hundred years ago.
To Sum Up this Widening Gyre
It's SO not a hundred years ago!!!
...Which is why the play "In the Next Room" is so important.
...Which is why I am going to callbacks on Wednesday and not throwing in the towel to superior actors. Because, heck. 31 has been a beautiful year.
Let's go out with a bang, SHALL WE? Ring in the new with this thing I love doing better than anything else in the world. Or, rather, love doing about en par with only a small, glittering handful of other favorite things.
For now, I know I am no coward.
Proving myself to myself one test at a time.
- On-call doctor allowed ONE Tylenol to see if fever was stupid human suit vs emergency room. Temp dropping. Feeling better #CopingWithCancer 20:16:28, 2013-12-06
- Why do I always spike fevers on the weekend after all my doctors go home? 100.5F. Waiting for the on-call doctor now. #CopingWithCancer 19:01:11, 2013-12-06
- RT @TungstenHippo: There is folly and danger in impulsive words. Once released, they cannot be unspoken; the gods listen. @eugiefoster, htt… 11:10:25, 2013-12-06
- [Blog] Hello, Peripheral Neuropathy http://t.co/oIa8GICS08 via @eugiefoster 11:46:00, 2013-12-05
- RT @nonteentitan: Just finished #RMSF by @eugiefoster , excited to grab this for LIRR commute later today http://t.co/736YvN1pWq 11:14:26, 2013-12-05
- Received today: my contrib. copy of anthology The Book of Apex: Volume 4, and it is gorgeous. http://t.co/l2cIJhULDw 11:07:21, 2013-12-04
Detroit Lions at the Philadelphia Eagles. In a RAGING snow storm. Big fluffy stuff. Only ten minutes into the first quarter and the field is covered. And visibility is near zero.
Ankle deep and kicked balls land thud in the snow and just stop. Guys make a reception, tackled and stand up with a faceful of snow jammed in their helmets.
Usually you see players getting on and off the field in random moves -- today you have columns of players trotting along the lines, which have been push shoveled. Detroit gets a TD and then goes for two -- and gets it -- rather than try a point after kick. Then on the kickoff, has the reserve offensive line in to push a path for the kicker's run up to the ball, using their feet.
We've seen games with snow before. And the Fog Bowl between the Bears and Green Bay in an invisible Lambeau Field. And one of the first New Year's outdoors NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo in full lake effect snow.
But this is spectacular.
The yard marker numbers are superimposed gray on the snow, along with the usual line of scrimmage and first down visual lines.
Detroit up 8-0 at the half. Another TD in the third quarter, on a 40 yard punt return, but two point conversion fails. 14-0. Then 14-6 as Eagles also fail at two point conversion.
Snow nearly 8" deep on the field at start of the fourth quarter. Eagles break free, score, and tie, 14-14. So what do the Lions do? 99 yard kickoff return. 20-14. Two pointer stopped by penalty. PAT blocked -- first points kick tried in game. 14:20 to go. Eagles break free, 22-20. Then 28-20.
On the return... To go all the way, you must first go half the way. To go half the way, you must first go a quarter of the way. That was the kickoff and first down for the Lions. The next play is NOT to drop the ball and let the Eagles collect your fumble.
And the Eagles score, 34-20. Maybe we should've gone to the movies, though it's been snowing here, too. And that's the final score. Sorry, Lions. You played three good quarters.
BTW -- the field in Philly was clear 90 minutes before the game. Not nearly as much snow in Baltimore, more in Green Bay, I think.
( Things I've said about this book earlierCollapse )
What strikes me overall is the grace and balance between the traditional tales and Nolan’s own stories of his own experiences, and his thoughts on healing, different cultures, and the power of story. He tells two versions of the story of Dash-Kaya, or Wawa-yai—a monster who drinks human blood and eats human flesh. In both versions, the monster’s demise involves exploding into tiny pieces—these are mosquitoes, which still drink human blood. Nolan reflects,
Dash-Kaya or the Wawa-yai don’t suddenly vanish—but they become something you can live with on a daily basis.
He says that he’s used this in dealing with addiction: it’s not that the issue disappears, but that you can manage it. Later he talks about the difference between curing and healing—you can be healed even if you can’t be cured.
He has more thoughts on language and how different languages let us express different things:
( what Navajo lets you expressCollapse )
And then he told a funny story about expressing the concept of far-away. At one point he did some work in remote portions of Saskatchewan:
( Bermuda, Saskatchewan--anyway, some place far awayCollapse )
( who's saving whom?Collapse )
Coyote Still Going really has so, so much to offer you—traditional tales, a look at what it’s like in Native American communities today (up in Saskatchewan, Nolan recalls that “the community entertained itself by playing bingo over the radio, since there was no television,”), thoughts on language, culture, and healing; recipes sweet, savory, and spicy; and art (like this Transformation Mask, which shows a human face within the blood-sucking, flesh eating monster of the tale I described above). And Ty Nolan is sharing them with us directly: this is another self-published book. If you read it and like it, spread the word!
Coyote Still Going on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords
- Current Music:Like the Bike: Ceiling Can't Hold Us
This week they unexpectedly got one more home game -- cold and snowing and with only a small crowd. Finals coming, you know. Enthusiastic, though. There was a group of Honors College students without shirts.
We were able to see some of the game on streaming video on our Kindles. Grand Valley in trouble in the first half, running "21 unanswered points in the third quarter for a 35-28 victory and a trip to the semifinals." The 12-2 Lakers have won eight in a row.
Last week Grand Valley headed west to play Colorado State-Pueblo and pulled off a 34-30 Second Round victory.
Two weeks ago it was the Repeat Battle of the Valleys in Allendale, where after losing in the last regular season game, Saginaw Valley State University had to return to Lubbers Stadium, only to be trounced again by the Lakers 40-7 in the First Round playoffs.
Early on this season the Lakers suffered two bad losses. There was talk that in their competitive conference that their playoff hopes were probably gone. Now they are but one game away from another trip to Florence AL and the D-II championship game.
At least this year, as they have for many years, there WILL be a Division II National Champion. Division I can only wait until next year to dump the BCS idiocy. Whether they still ruin the New Year's Day bowl games will have to be seen.
Enjoy your final exams this week, Lakers. Then Saturday 14 December, 3:30pm EST, D-II Semifinals, Bearcat Stadium, Maryville, Mo.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz -- Oscar De León’s family came to the United States from the Dominican Republic, and is possibly under some sort of curse (called a fukú, “the Curse and Doom of the New World”) for angering the Dominican dictator Trujillo. Oscar himself is fat geek who falls in love hopelessly and without reservation, and all these things together seem to mean that his life is almost a complete tragedy, a sentiment foreshadowed in the “brief” part of the title. Still, the novel’s very funny, with an idiosyncratic style that bounces into both Dominican Spanish and Elvish. There are almost as many genre references here as in Jo Walton’s Among Others, though the books are otherwise very different. Trujillo is compared throughout to Sauron; one of his agents is called the Witchking of Angmar. Oscar’s college roommate Yunior writes:
“Do you know what sign fool put up on our dorm door? Speak, friend, and enter. In fucking Elvish! (Please don’t ask me how I know this. Please.) When I saw that I said: De León, you gotta be kidding. Elvish?
“Actually, he coughed, it’s Sindarin.”
(I couldn’t help but wonder, though I know a reader can’t really ask these questions, why poor Oscar just didn’t go to science fiction conventions to find like-minded women.)
Hild, by Nicola Griffith -- Hild is an actual seventh-century woman who begins the novel as the powerless daughter of a widow and becomes seer and adviser to Edwin, the overlord of the Anglisc. As I said here, I loved the character, and the close attention both Hild and Griffith pay to the world around them, and the poetic nature of the prose. And it was published in 2013 -- yay!
Dead Lions, by Mick Herron -- Dead Lions (also published in 2013) led me to Herron’s previous book, Slow Horses, and that led me to all his other novels, including a series about a detective named Zoë Boehm. Male authors generally have a hard time writing female characters who do things -- either they can’t get away from the stereotype of the passive, timid woman who brightens up when a man steps in to help her, or they go to the opposite extreme, where the woman occupies too much space and talks in sports metaphors. But I liked Zoë a lot, and more importantly I believed in her: she’s smart, cynical, funny, doesn’t like people much but wants to help them anyway. She’d be a good person to turn to if you needed help. And I like it that she’s Jewish, which is also unusual. In one of the books someone asks her if she’s a practicing Jew and she says, “This is about the pork thing, isn’t it?”
Herron is a terrific stylist; his prose makes you pay close attention so you don’t miss a turn of phrase. “Carefully, Tim stood, and managed to leave the bar without incident. Then, a resident, he retired to his room, to set about the tiresome chore of suicide.” (Why We Die) “She’d started to run, but the ground was slick and treacherous, and next thing she’d been in the drainage ditch, her leg broken, and the rain coming down like God never promised a thing.” (The Last Voice You Hear) Or the beginning of Reconstruction: “In cartoons, when the alarm rings, the cat, mouse, dog, whatever, hauls out a mallet from under the pillow and BAM! -- cogs, levers and coils go everywhere; the clock face drops from its casing like a cuckoo on a spring ... Morning is broken.”
The Unreal and the Real, by Ursula Le Guin -- A collection in two volumes (Where on Earth and Outer Space, Inner Lands) containing a whole lot of good stories, science fiction, fantasy, surreal, real, unreal... As I said here, “I’m old enough to remember when Ursula Le Guin came to prominence. It was a different time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and said that women couldn’t write science fiction. And I remember how thrilled I was to discover Le Guin, who not only played with the tropes of science fiction but was better at the game than just about everyone.”
Wonders of the Invisible World, by Patricia McKillip -- Another collection, published in 2013 and so eligible for many awards -- I’m looking at you, World Fantasy judges! McKillip writes beautiful, strange, fantastic tales that read like myths from cultures we haven’t discovered yet. This book has plenty of those, but I was interested to find stories that take place in other times and places as well, about Cotton Mather, a Christmas cruise, an artists’ colony. Turns out McKillip can write pretty much anything she turns her hand to.
Two science fiction/fantasy collections, one mystery, one lit-fic, and one historical novel. Three women, two men. One person of color. (I generally read as many books by women as by men, but my score this year for books by PoC wasn’t as good. Hope to improve on that in the new year -- and, once again, recommendations?) All featuring great writing, though the styles are very different from one another.
- Current Music:Reinecke: Harp Concerto
Lindop seems more or less forgotten today, but in her time she was a bestselling novelist of great repute, with several of those novels being filmed -- the most famous, both as novel and movie, probably being The Singer not the Song. The great thing about Lindop was that she never wrote the same novel twice.
The movie's a psychological thriller and definitely of interest if you can find it. There's some great Harry Waxman cinematography, too (plus some atrocious matteing, alas).
Once again, the new entry is here.
- Current Music:Cipriani Potter (yay!): Symphony #9 in D
You believe that the world needs a lot more compassion, and understanding. It's a mean place out there.
You love freely, often, and unconditionally. You try not to see anyone as an enemy.
You think that love is the best gift you can give - and sometimes it's not easy.
Even if someone deserves love, it doesn't mean that he or she is lovable!
The Gift Box Test
Honestly, this isn't as right on as some of the others. I do try to love everyone, but there are some people who make it more of a challenge than others. I do know where and when to draw the line and I have no trouble avoiding people who have proven themselves unlovable. My friends are cherished and held close. Others, no so much. I don't hate them; I just don't feel the need to love or even like them - take that, John White!
I hope your day is glorious! This is your gift certificate. It's worth one piece of fic or art. You have up to a year to redeem this. So, think about it and let me know what you would like.
Have a brilliant day!
Then it became about fixing the toilet, largely: Adventures in Plumbing. All to the good.
So Dave and I went off to Home Despot to buy the inner workings of a toilet cistern, leaving Karen and Katherine in the house.
...And came home to find Katherine weltered in blood and Neosporin and Band-Aids, after an Adventure with Mac in the Back Yard. It is not entirely clear what spooked him - a raccoon, perhaps? - but something did. He went all feral on her - and Mac is not a rescue cat, he's the one fobbed off on me with misdirection and deceit, he's never been feral in his life.
Anyway. I am now earwormed with Other Tom Waits, "Someone's hosing down the sidewalk and he's only in his teens..." I am not myself in my teens, but I did indeed have to hose down the back patio, and then scrub the concrete. I have greater respect now for those who clean up murder-scenes now, legitimately or otherwise...
IT'S PRACTICALLY SINGLE DIGITS!
IT'S ALMOST ZERO!
IT'S NEARLY NEGATIVE NUMBERS!
IT'S AN ICE AGE!
GLOBAL WARMING IS FOR CRAP!
Thinking warm thoughts for those iced over by Winter Storm Dion -- which has tracked south of us and sprayed ice and freezing rain from Dallas to Little Rock, Kentucky and beyond -- especially those without power -- or in one case we know of, without natural gas for their heat.
And nasty thoughts to those who confuse weather and climate, and fail at science.