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    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
    Cryptic Gender
    Here's an interesting essay about characters whose gender is not revealed.

    Now the fun part is, I have done all the things  here.  I've written male and female characters.  I've written around a dozen sex/gender identities.  Usually I specify them.  Occasionally I don't, and I have done that both deliberately and accidentally.  I've written non-binary genders.  I've even got one whose gender is explicitly identified as "I'm not telling."  All of those things matter.  But they don't matter to every story.  It's okay to get through one and realize that you haven't tagged the character's gender.  It's okay to specify something out of the ordinary, whether that affects the plot or is background parity.  Just know what you're doing.

    Current Mood: busy
    Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
    "It would not be logical"
    Recently I read yet another book where the character I most identify with ended up sad and alone after the death of her beloved partner. Reader, I am fucking done with these books. DONE. Done done done.

    If you nodded along to Ferrett's post about how the "logic" underpinning all-white and all-male award nomination lists is suspect, then nod along to this. Every time a lesbian dies, every time a wife is widowed, every time a mother grieves the death of her child, every time rape is used to define a woman's character, it serves the story that the author wanted to tell--the story the author chose to tell. And I am no longer content with "it makes sense in the context of the story" as an explanation or an excuse. That "logic" is just as suspect.


    Tell stories where it doesn't make sense for her husband or wife to die. Tell stories where her child dying is unfathomable. Tell stories where women live happy fulfilling lives. Tell stories where women find love and don't lose it again. Tell stories where women and their bodies aren't treated like objects.

    Tell stories where women are happy, where a woman's happiness makes sense in the context of the story, where a woman's happiness serves the story, where a woman's happiness is integral to the plot. Tell stories where women's hearts and minds and bodies and families and vocations are healthy, and treated with respect by other people.

    Tell stories where women are happy.

    This should not be such an outrageous suggestion. But take a look at recent SF/F, at the books that get awards, at the books that get talked about, and it is entirely and utterly radical.

    Tell stories where women are happy. I dare you. And I'm begging you, please. I can't handle any more unhappy women. I can't. It's why I read romance more than SF/F these days. I don't identify as a woman anymore, but that doesn't stop me from identifying with women, and they are all so sad and I can't do it. Stop showing me how tough and realistic your grimdark is by making the women as miserable as the men. Stop showing me how exciting and dangerous your space adventure is by putting the women through as many trials as the men. I believe you, okay? It's tough and realistic, it's exciting and dangerous, I believe you, you can stop now.

    It will be hard the first few times, because it's so alien, this notion of women's happiness. But you'll get used to it, once you can adjust your ideas of what's "logical".

    Tell stories where women are happy. Go on. Give it a try.

    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

    Current Mood: sad
    Robert Sarazin Blake in New London

    Some weeks ago, my buddy Victor Chiburis of The Friendly Ghost invited a bunch of us to a show at New London's Bean and Leaf coffee shop, where the Ghost would be opening for singer-songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake.

    He evinced enough enthusiasm for his headliner that I wrote the date on my calendar right away. I'd seen Victor and the Ghost's banjo man Joe Attwater perform before at Dickson's Tavern in New London, at some kind of Hootenanny - which I wrote about here - and I'd heard some of his solo stuff, and been gifted his CD.

    But I'd never heard the Ghost with three of its four voices. This time Kelsey Alexander sang with them. And played the bongos. And the tambourine. And the egg.

    And though their song "Falling off the Earth" had powerfully affected me the first time I heard it, this time it made me cry.

    I wished I'd heard this song in my early twenties, when I probably needed it most. It would have saved me the writing of many hysterical emails and bleeding-out midnight letter writings.

    I am glad though that it was written for someone; that this sort of loyalty-with-detachment, this oath-swearing of continuing friendship and simultaneous withdrawal, can be and was articulated. So many years spent puzzling over this phenomenon of sudden silences from the other side of it...

    The Bean and Leaf setting was informal, with coffee grinders blazing up in the distance, and a dispersed, coffee-drinking, casual audience. I sat right up in front with Patty and Moosher, and had, in my opinion, the least distractible position for enjoying the music.

    The Friendly Ghost explained that their headliner was stuck on the 95 South, going 10 miles an hour in a jam. They'd check their messages throughout their set and keep their audience updated. Unfortunately, by the time Sarazin Blake arrived, the Bean and Leaf was closing.

    Did I say unfortunately?


    Victor and Kelsey, in the greatest roommate coup since Burke and Hare (only not involving cadavers in ANY WAY) (Kelsey's a vegetarian) (actually, they're probably more like the boys of Baker Street) (but they're BOTH Sherlock!), recently moved into the prettiest second floor apartment in New London. It's just a few blocks from the Bean and Leaf. They filled the rooms with instruments and cushy places to sit, and then lit it just for company.

    From the red rugs on the floor to the soft white fairy lights, if any home is the place for a house show, this is that home.

    And that's where we headed when the Bean and Leaf closed its doors. About half of the audience went on their way, but the rest of us crowded into whatever vehicle we could purloin and joined the parade.

    "Anyone want to ride with me?" Sarazin Blake asked, looking a bit road-weary and wry.

    I grabbed my actor pal Eric, who'd been standing on the sidewalk, explaining to me the virtues of a "Grown-Up Yoohoo," which is basically chocolate milk with vodka, something of a New London specialty.

    "Let's go with The Headliner!" I said.

    "Just as long as you never call me that again," said The Headliner, who was adorable in an early Cat Stevens, dark-eyed, dark-bearded, crinkly-eyed, looks-at-you-and-you-feel-REALLY-LOOKED-AT way. (Not that Cat Stevens ever looked at me. Only, I like to imagine it sometimes.)

    "What's your name again?"


    "I'm Claire."

    We shook on it, and piled in the car with the guitars, then Eric navigated him to that Wonderful Place on B--- Street, where the more beers you remove from the fridge, the more beers appear in the fridge.

    That's just one of the magic things about Victor and Kelsey's house. I find it fascinating - and I hardly ever drink the stuff myself!

    Within a few minutes, chairs and couches and lounges had been arranged in a pleasing manner, and we launched into a mini-salon as a few of the crowd went out to pick up pizzas. Michael Hinton sang a folk song he'd written in England. I recited "Little Sally and the Bull Fiddle God" ("Is that Shel Silverstein?" "Ha! Yes, it's Shel Silverstein." "No, is it?" "No!" "Who is it?" "She wrote it!"), which Sarazin Blake immediately followed with a cowboy-drawled rendition of "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

    (I think I first heard that poem on a road trip with Gene Wolfe. Those first lines..."There are strange things done in the midnight sun / By the men who moil for gold..." Did some friends and I once have a whole conversation about the word "moil"? Or was that in a book I read? I have a memory specifically about "moil" but I don't know where it belongs.)

    When the pizza arrived.
    When we were all settled.
    When the moment was right.

    ...Then Robert Sarazin Blake began to play.

    "Thanks for coming out," he told us. "We didn't need the rest of the audience anyway."

    "Those would be our parents," Kelsey said.

    "Who might have paid for the pizza," quipped Victor.

    Sarazin Blake is one of those conversational baritones who can make his guitar burr and buzz like a beehive transmogrified to look like a Gibson.

    (I don't know actually if his guitar was a Gibson. I don't know the names of guitars. I only know that it was heavy. It was an instrument of substance. I know. I carried it up the stairs.)

    In the best lyrical tradition of Bob Dylan and Greg Brown, he can take a personal experience and parse it into such exquisite specificity that it becomes entirely universal.

    I don't know how that is; anybody can write a vague lyric and call it a love song. But it is the details, the observation and focus and reflection, the athanor of self-analysis, the compulsion to process a life through song, and then be further compelled to hit the road and show it off to the world - the joy of that - that makes a song of a singular event become the listener's event as well.

    And you find yourself nodding along and thinking, "Yeah. Yeah, I remember that. That happened to me too. Just the color of the sneakers changed..."

    Or - as in the case of The Friendly Ghost's "Falling Off the Earth," or Sarazin Blake's incredibly sexy song, "Tattoos," you can suddenly re-envision a familiar scene or memory, but from the other person's point of view. It's incredibly useful. And moving.

    I only had a fiver in my wallet. I threw it into his guitar case at the end of the night, and apologized for not being able to buy his CD.

    "Well, take one anyway," he said. "Do you want A Crowd of Drunken Lovers?" (He'd played several songs from this album, in our honor, including "Tattoos.") "Or do you want the new one?"

    "Which one do you think I should have?" I asked. "Whatever you give me, I'll blog about it."

    He gave me the new one, the self-titled Robt Sarazin Blake. I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but I can already vouch for "ok ok ok."

    I was about to ask Victor if I could borrow "Drunken Lovers," and Sarazin Blake must have caught the look on my face, because he laughed and said, "Buy the mp3 online. Don't talk about burning CDs in the kitchen. You want to talk about burning CDs, go into the other room!"

    "I was just going to ask about borrowing it!"

    "Maybe a listening party?" he suggested.

    "I do those! I did that with Hadestown! Do you know Hadestown?"

    "Anais is one of my best friends," he said gently. "I got to play Hades when she toured in Seattle."


    "I wore a red shirt. Look at your CD."

    I did. Anaïs Mitchell's one of the singers.

    "Jeez," I said, totally dreamy-eyed. "Is Greg Brown one of your best friends too?"

    "No," he said. "Greg Brown's my hero."

    And that, friends, was my night last night.
    My tweets
    Security Flaws
     A crucial and immovable flaw in many security systems is humans.  If people can't get something to work properly, they will find a way to make it work improperly.  I find that there are a great many places online that I don't think need passwords.  It's just something I don't want to fuck around with for trivial uses.  So either I don't go there, or I work around it.  The problem comes when people do exactly the same thing with a really, really important system.

    Current Mood: busy
    "Dona nobis pacem"
    Today was a lot better than yesterday. X fought off gluten-poisoning to meet me after work and brave the perfumed chaos of BB&B, and we got curtains and curtain rods and various other useful things. We took a cab over to the new apartment and installed curtains and were happy.

    I got some hooks that hang off of cabinet doors (super useful!) and while I was figuring out which doors to put them on, I realized that I hadn't yet had a chance to ask X the all-important question of "which drawer do you assume the silverware is in?".

    R: Hey, I have a question for you that I asked Josh already.
    X: Yes, I will marry you.
    R: *stammers and blushes and grins like a fool for several minutes*

    We held each other in our new kitchen and it felt like home, our home, our family home.

    And then I asked about the silverware drawer and we both felt (as J had) that it should be one of the middle ones because towels go nearest the sink and cooking utensils go nearest the stove. We all tend to be very in tune around things like that. It makes things so lovely and easy.

    Later on, as we were walking back to the old place from the subway:

    X: Huh, there was something I was going to ask you...
    R: Yes, I will marry you.
    X: Well, FINALLY. I've been waiting for ages!

    And there you have the difference between the two of us. :) But it's just a different kind of in tune, really. Sappiness and silliness, melody and harmony.

    Just five more days.

    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

    Current Mood: loved
    "Fezzik, you did something right."
    Fun things, Apr 17: idea, that was a million years ago
    Apr 18: went by the new place after therping and immediately felt less stressed
    Apr 19: packing party! and then dinner with J, and another trip to the new place, and watching The Princess Bride with X
    Apr 20: another nice dinner out with J, and companionable packing with X
    Apr 21: X and I got curtains and other things at BB&B and installed them (except the shower curtain rings, which are too big for the grommets on our shower curtain)

    Yes, all the joy in my life right now comes from packing and interior decorating. This will be true for another few weeks at least.

    Media log:

    33) The Princess Bride. (Movie.) Rewatch, of course. It remains brilliant, but I kept thinking "This scene is better in the book!" and now I want to reread the book. Cary Elwes is so young. I continue to ship Humperdink/Rugen like whoa.

    I mean, what is there to say about it, really? We've all seen it a billion times. It's one of the wittiest and most quotable scripts ever written, Wesley castigating Buttercup for marrying someone else after she thought he was dead is kind of tiresome (especially given all his later assertions about true love--if it's Meant to Be and all that, why did he ever doubt her?) but over quickly, the acting is phenomenal even if Mandy Patinkin's broad Spanish accent is cringeworthy these days, and I will always love the fencing scene to tiny little itty bitty pieces. I appreciate Andre the Giant more than ever--his Fezzik is such a wonderful portrayal of a man who's not nearly as short on brains as everyone else thinks he is, and is more bighearted and noble than anyone else imagines, a perfect paladin minus the armor--and Wallace Shawn is incomparable. Carol Kane and Billy Crystal are so splendid that you barely stop to wonder how a couple of Brooklyn Jews ended up working miracles and eating MLTs in Florin. They're all marvelous.

    Except, oddly, Robin Wright, who is wooden and one-note throughout. But she's given far less to work with than anyone else in the film; Buttercup really is the dolt that Fezzik is supposed to be, with no redeeming qualities except for her perfect breasts. Note that literally none of the famous quotable lines are hers. She's the straight man for Wesley's wisecracks, and then she sets him up to die away from her because she can't bear him dying in front of her. Inigo immediately knows that the cry of ultimate suffering is Wesley's; Buttercup is baffled by it. Her one shining moment is "You never sent those ships", and that realization is so completely belated that all I could do was roll my eyes. I'm surprised Fezzik remembered to steal a horse for her, given that she's more of a quest object than a person.

    Oh well. All the men and Carol Kane are great, anyway.

    One intriguing side effect of spending so much time doing literary criticism is that I was totally fascinated by the grandson arguing with the book whenever it diverged from his culturally mediated expectations of a fairy tale. "You got that wrong, grandpa!" He hates "kissing books" but he knows enough about romance conventions to know that Wesley has to get the girl and Humperdink has to die (and he's so mad when his grandfather tells him that Humperdink lives--that's not how it's done!). It's a fascinating little study on how quickly and thoroughly children absorb the tropes we feed them, and it helps to make up for the movie being more of a fawning homage to cliché than a sneaky send-up.

    Verdict: The book is better. (Not least because it is much more of a sneaky send-up, including the greatly superior ending.) But the movie is still great.

    For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? I expect we'll wear out the DVD. I plan to read them the book, too. Including the descriptions of the boring parts.

    34) My Real Children by Jo Walton. (Book.) NOTE: The following contains spoilers, and also a major spoiler for the Small Change books (Farthing/Ha'Penny/Half a Crown). If you don't want those, stop reading now.

    Spoilers ahoyCollapse )

    Verdict: Annoying verging on upsetting.

    For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? Tolerate. It's not inherently offensive or objectionable. It's just not in any way my thing.

    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

    Current Mood: stressed
    I mostly enjoyed Swancon 39, and any lack of enjoyment is not attributable to the concom or any of the participants, but on my own personal problems and the absence of many of the people I look forward to seeing at cons - some local, some living in inconceivably distant lands (Melbourne, Adelaide, Mandurah, Joondalup, etc.) For this reason, the highlight of the con (for me) was the very well-attended launch of Satima Flavell's novel The Dagger of Dresnia, where I caught up with old friends and fellow writers including Lee and Lyn Battersby, Keira McKenzie, Adrian Bedford and others.

    The guests, particularly Jim Butcher, were entertaining and likeable; some of the costumes at the masquerade were magnificent; and many of the panels and presentations were fascinating. I'm sorry to have missed several items because of scheduling clashes (mostly with my need to sleep), but personal favourites included an expert talk on 'Conlangs: The Languages of Fictional Worlds', examining the grammar and phonetics of Klingon, Dothraki, and other invented languages; games of Ugg-Tect, thanks to well-deserved Mikey Award winner Rob Masters; a panel on Sexuality, Politics and Religion which mostly looked at asexuality and different degrees of atheism; a spirited defense of libraries by Gina Goddard, Susan Ackerman, Satima and myself; and an amazingly well-informed and extremely informative panel on 'The Internet Future'. The prize for memorable quote of the con goes to Dave Luckett for "The relationship between a writer and a publisher is like that of a suicide to the sidewalk. It's nothing personal."

    The most depressing aspect of the con, however, was not Dave's and Cat Sparks' reflection on life as a professional writer, nor the fact that no-one bid to run a Swancon in 2016 (briefly giving rise to speculation that Swancon 40 would be a glorious swansong, though I'm assured there will indeed be a Swancon 41), but conversations with friends from other WA universities who have not survived the culling of academic and support staff or who are anticipating having to face a firing squad.

    Maybe skipping the Dead Dog Party (was there one?) and watching an episode of Hannibal and the stunning documentary The Act of Killing instead wasn't the best possible way of avoiding post-con blues, but that aside, I have already bought my membership for Swancon 40 and I hope to see you all there.

    Current Mood: relaxed
    Monday, April 21st, 2014
    Update from Kajones_writing
    April's theme covers Heliopath’s World and Aurora’s World. Enter the April 2014 Raffle by using comments, links, or credits.

    Fiction: Aurora’s World: Atecia: Opal: Talking to Margery (part 7) has Haidar talking with Opal about blooming and the social challenges it brings.
    Aurora’s World: Atecia: Calix: Felicia Blooming (part 3) has Tuula explaining more about blooming and sensing people who will bloom.

    The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 87th continuation) follows up on Peric shredding the mind of the platypus assassin.
    The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 88th continuation) shows Peric telling his friends what he has discovered about the counterfeiters.

    Other Fiction: Heliopath’s World: Outside Ildieu: Dale: Taking Charge (part 2)
    Heliopath’s World: Outside Ildieu: Quartz: Dreaming of Family
    Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Benedict: Studying
    Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Kestrel: Kidnapped (part 5)
    Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Ginevra: Taking Over

    Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mackenzie: The Thieves’ Hideout (part 4)
    Aurora’s World: Haerith: Xavia: Making a Decision (part 5)
    Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 8)
    Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Jillian: Hunted (part 4)
    Aurora’s World: Konir: Amelia: Going Underground (part 2)
    Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Jillian: Hunted (part 5)
    Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 9)

    Current Mood: busy
    My tweets
    Monday Update 4-21-14
    These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
    Crowdfunding Creative Jam
    Diversity in YA Books
    The Science of Politics

    We made blackout on our Torn World Muse Fusion bingo card! *happydance*

    The half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics sold 13 poems. Wow! New poems are linked from the sale page so you can read them if you missed any.

    Poetry in Microfunding:
    "Faeder Way" follows the antics of human explorers as they try to understand some aliens with an unusual sex/gender structure.  "Uncounted Colors of the Stars" belongs to the series An Army of One.  A freetrader with an atypical identity grows interested in the culture of the Lacuna.

    Torn World writing update:
    Currently posting: "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal" (fiction).  Approved as canon: "Unicorns on Parade" "Spruce Deer" "Wandering the Heights" "The Slow Hunt" (poetry).  Back to me for edits: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands (Parts 1-4)," "Winterheart" (parts 2-3), "Fall of Duty" (fiction), "Stinging Like Nettles" "Rainforest Delicacies" "Tangleweed" "Beach Pictures" (poetry).  Currently in front of the canon board: "Indoor Men and Outdoor Men" "Learning to Breathe the Clear Mountain Air" "Off the Clock" (poetry), "Ghost Bat" (nonfiction), "Sharing a Round" (fiction). Drafted: "Like Ash Before the Wind," "From Dark to Bright," "The Inappropriate But Useful Disposal of Lettuce" "A Thin Red Trail" (fiction), "Changes in the Wind" (poetry), "Southern Breads" "Tangleweed Article" (articles), Jularei (character sheet).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," "Raining Kittens," "Finding the Holes" (fiction), "The Smallest Invaders"  (poetry).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "A Cold Clear Night" "Beachfront Propriety" (fiction).

    Mostly the weather has been nice here.  It's cooler and wetter today.  We need to buy grass seed.  Currently blooming: snowdrops, daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia.  Some of the tulips have buds on them.

    Current Mood: busy
    Fantastic Stories Presents: Science Fiction Super Pack #1
    I just finished putting together the science fiction anthology; it’s titled Fantastic Stories Presents: Science Fiction Super Pack #1. It has 41 stories in it and is 726 pages long. I’ve now had a moment to go over the submissions numbers. I received about 200 stories of which I purchased 46. Men out number women during the submission process by about 20%. 27 of the stories I purchased were by women and 20 were by men. I don’t know if that means anything, but it’s interesting.

    The reading process really surprised me, though, I guess it should not have. When reading original stories for a project I only managed to read a tiny fraction of the stories all the way through. Since I was only looking at reprints the overall quality of the slush was the highest I’ve ever experienced and I read more than half of the stories that came in all the way through. This tells me that when I open at the higher pay rate I will defiantly need first readers if I am to keep up with my other publishing duties.

    So now it’s on to the Fantasy Super Pack. I need another dozen or so stories to fill that out. So please e-mail you reprint Fantasy stories to Payment is a flat $10.00 plus a copy of the e-pub and two copies of the print anthology. As I said, I’m primarily looking for fantasy at the moment, but since I’ll be starting on a second science fiction super pack as soon as I’m done with the Fantasy super pack I will look at science fiction as well.
    Story: "Squiggles" 1512.05.09
    "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal"


    Sraffi stopped by today and told me that a customer asked to buy four of the fawn Squiggle mice for the pet show circuit. Apparently he wants to test their popularity. Sraffi only had two in stock so she came to see if I could spare two more. I said yes; the publicity benefits us if they win ribbons. This will set back my breeding program a bit, but I could really use the extra money too.

    Well, I sold the mice and hired an assistant mousekeeper. Sronald is Sraffi's nephew. He likes all kinds of pets, although his specialty is breeding snakes. He wants to learn how to raise mice for ... well, snake food, presumably. I made very clear to him that these are fancy pets and not feeder mice. He seems to like the mice, though, so I think this should work out just fine.

    See the landing page for "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal."

    Current Mood: busy
    Read a CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 story by Campbell nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew

    CP4_web_smallCongratulations to Clockwork Phoenix 4 contributor Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who is a finalist for the 2014 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
    Benjanun has rapidly built of a body of work that has obviously caused people in the sf/fantasy field to sit up and take notice. In 2013, her stories appeared in Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the End of the Road and We See a Different Frontier anthologies, and of course our own Clockwork Phoenix 4. Her story in our pages, “The Bees Her Heart, the Hive Her Belly,” made the 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List and was selected to be reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014.
    I’m pleased to be able to make that story available free to anyone who wants to read it. We wish Bee the best of luck!
    Read her story here.

    Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

    "I don't even give a care"
    Moving stress is THE WORST. I HATE IT. I HATE IT SO MUCH.

    Tea and Daniel and Stacy C. came over and packed a ton of book boxes, because they are marvelous people, and now the "how will we pack everything?!" stress is gone because we can clearly pack everything that's left with minimal trouble, but instead there's all the stress of being surrounded by boxes and chaos and tiny ants (we have a bonus! infestation thanks to a hole in the baseboard that we don't have time to patch). I hate it all so much.

    This apartment was never really home, not like our place in Inwood was. We always knew it would be temporary, so we overlooked or put up with a lot of things, and now all the cumulative impatience and dissatisfaction is crushing. The physical disarray of moving is crushing. The anxiety--what's going to break? what will we lose? how far will we fall behind our schedule? how much is this all costing us?--is crushing. We're all struggling a lot. I suppose later on I'll be able to look back with intellectual curiosity at the different ways our various neuroses manifest under this sort of pressure, but right now we're all at the emotional level of your average underslept five-year-old and it's kind of awful.

    I'm just so glad that no matter how defensive or agitated or scared or sullen or cranky we get, we don't get mean. We're never cruel. We gripe but don't snipe. Some days that's all that saves us.

    Today X and I got into a stupid verbal spiral and couldn't pull ourselves out of it, and then J knocked to ask about dinner plans, and we were so happy to be interrupted! We were utterly hating the conversation we were having and didn't want to be having it and couldn't figure out how to stop, and being jarred out of it was a huge relief. It was actually very heartening how glad we were to pull him into the room and talk about dinner and hug one another and let all the rest of it go. We were so eager to stop making one another unhappy. Everything was better after that. Not 100% better, but better.

    The stress is making me slightly dizzy all the time. It's not vertigo. I know it's not because whenever I go over to the new place I magically feel better. I'm just lightheaded. But of course I keep checking to see whether it's vertigo.

    Tonight I burst into tears and sobbed on X's shoulder, wailing, "I'm homesick! I want to go home!" But by this time next week I will be home, or at least in a place that we can make into a home instead of a place that we're dismantling. And then I hope we will stay there for many many many MANY years. Ideally without any ants.

    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

    Current Mood: stressed
    Sunday, April 20th, 2014
    Poem: "The Hercules Complex"
    This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "wishing" square on my 11-26-13 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LiveJournal user Lb_lee. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

    WARNING: This poem mentions some weird forms of self-harm and gruesome situations, inspired by superhero origin stories.

    Read more...Collapse )

    Current Mood: busy
    Poem: "Eat Me, Drink Me"

    This is the freebie for the April 2014 crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from ellenmillion.

    Eat Me, Drink Me

    We are what we eat.

    Is it any wonder, then,
    that we imagine ourselves
    changing in response to that?

    Drink this to shrink small,
    eat this to grow tall --
    it's never that simple,
    but we dream of it anyway.

    What is the taste of diminishment?
    What is the flavor of expansion?

    The mad tea party is all about
    moving without changing.

    The caterpillar's smoke is all about
    changing without moving.

    The real mystery is this:
    you don't need a rabbit hole because
    every body is wonderland.

    * * *


    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a famous fantasy novel.  It features a potion labeled "Drink Me" and a cake labeled "Eat Me."  Other ingestibles in Wonderland may have strange effects too, and the whole story is very much about self-perception and transformation.  These often inspire decoration for baked goods or other treats.

    Current Mood: busy
    Poem: "Power Play"

    This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siliconshaman.  It also fills the "sports and games" square on my 1-31-14 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by lb_lee.  It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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    Current Mood: busy
    Poem: "A Sense of Power"
    This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "senses" square in my 1-31-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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    Current Mood: busy
    BINGO: blackout
     The Torn World Muse Fusion for April 2014 has reached blackout on our collective bingo card.  Woohoo!  I wrote six things.

    Current Mood: excited
    My tweets
    Half-Price Poetry Sale: Polychrome Heroics
    Today is the last day of the half-price sale in the series Polychrome Heroics.  Links have been added for recently posted poems.  I still have one more sponsored poem to post later today.  There are lots of poems left if you're still shopping.  Some are epics but there are plenty of shorter ones starting at $2.50.

    Current Mood: busy
    Poem: "An Unexpected Connection"
    This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "hands" square on my 3-30-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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    Current Mood: busy
    The Physics of Consciousness
    This article suggests that consciousness is a state of matter.  Well, yes.  It's kind of like how little whizzing bits of energy get together and pretend to be solid.  But consciousness is also a lot more fractal and holographic than most people realize.  It's not indivisible.  Parts of it can be lost and other parts still function, or conversely, parts can be lost but then regained from unexpected angles.

    Current Mood: busy
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