I’ve been struggling a lot to keep writing, to keep creating, to find the inspiration and the focus I need to do my job. A lot of it is related to my Depression, but there comes a point when the difference between being a professional and a hobbyist is actually doing the work, even — especially — when it’s hard.
So this weekend, Anne and I took the kids up to Santa Barbara to celebrate our birthdays (which are all in the next two weeks), and to get a change of scenery for a couple of days. It was a gorgeous trip, emotionally and spiritually, and while it didn’t give me the magic bullet to suddenly break through the struggle I’ve been having, I made a ton of progress, because I read a book that I took with me. Here’s my review that I posted to my Goodreads thingy:
It’s a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. Some of Austin’s suggestions will validate what you’re already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.
Because it’s such a small and accessible book, you’ll want to go back to it from time to time. Just like Stephen King’sÂ On Writing, as you change and grow as an artist, it reveals new ideas and inspirations to you that you may have missed on a previous read.
This is a fantastic addition to your library, and a wonderful gift for any creative person in your life.
I’ve been profoundly inspired by Austin’s book, because he reaffirmed things I’ve already been doing as an artist, but mostly because he gave me permission to think about the entire creative process differently.
For a long time, I have felt like a travel writer who never leaves the house, and Steal Like An Artist helped me find the door so I can get back on the road.
Back when I did my volunteer training at the end of 2011, I was one of several new volunteers who wondered what we should do in the case of youth talking about suicide. Well, after all these years it happened. I asked the youth if they were actively suicidal; no, thank God, but they've been thinking about suicide off and on since they were eight years old. And I'm beyond relieved that I didn't get that creepy something's-weird-and-they're-hiding-
The ACA took a big step towards repeal today. This could mean that Ex will spend every penny I give her in alimony on drugs to stay ambulatory. I'm amazed she isn't freaking out online yet.
Fuck. Fuck parents who don't get it. Fuck sexual predators. Fuck soulless, gutless politicians. Fuck greed-crazed billionaires.
I have a linkback poem, "Rewriting the Narrative" (9 verses, standalone).
If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week. (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts. I am now.) Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog.
( New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )
NYPL pay wall, so url not link:
She hits all the points I've made, including the one that people tend to stay far away from, which is art and entertainments' civic, social and moral obligations to the polity.
Why yes, it is odd that whenever there is a reimagining of antebellum slavery and the Civil War, it always is white supremacists win and white supremacists are always in charge. IOW, this is no alternate history, it is how things always were. Why don't we reimagine a nation without color coded slavery, or any slavery at all? Why don't we imagine a nation in which there was no Napoleonic cession of the Louisiana Territory? A reimagining in which Texas and California etc. stayed with Mexico? Hmmmmm? Why don't we??????
. . . . That *&^%$#$ McCain did it, by the way. The Kill Bill has been passed, thanks to his vote and thus the the tie-breaking by the Speaker.
Iâ€™m not oblivious to the fact that folks can feel like they suffer from event fatigue or what have you. All I can say to that is, I personally believe that events are like any other kind of story. The delivery method doesnâ€™t matter. Whether itâ€™s its own title, a weekly book, an anthology, or a team-up, I donâ€™t believe there is a type of book that doesnâ€™t work. All that matters at the end of the day is whether or not your story is good. -- Nick Spencer
( Read more... )
In a way I'm kind of used to not sleeping properly and most of my coping methods work most of the time. This is a special circumstance. I know I'm stressed and anxious, I don't deal with change and I'm not sleeping right because of it. I probably won't sleep right for weeks, if not months, because of it. I do have a prescription for sleeping pills if I need them and I hate them but I might have to rely on them for a while.
Too much of a lack of sleep makes all the other shit even harder to deal with... and as with vicious circles round and round we go.
S is also struggling to sleep properly because of the cast on her leg. She's not napping so much during the day either because she's not taking so many painkilers. S is not used to not getting enough sleep and she's getting really grouchy with it. She's also making herself wired by drinking caffeine to wake herself up but isn't doing anything to work off the energy... and so she can't sleep.
I feel really bad for her. She's has never had insomnia. She's seen me dealing with it for years and she told me that now she's experienced it just a little and has a vague idea of just some of what I go through, she told me she doesn't know how I cope. She made me cry when she cuddled me and said she was proud of me for keeping fighting through the darkness.
I feel really bad for J actually. He's got both of us suffering with sleep deprivation and being tired and irritable. How he doesn't yell at us when we're both being bitches I don't know. He just shrugs and says he knows he don't mean it, and he also said to me there'd be no point and that it would resolve anything. That man is a saint.
I probably had a point when I sat down and started to write but that was about 15 minutes ago now and I don't actually remember anymore. I'm tired, like the kind of tired where if I close my eyes too long I might actually go to sleep so I might crawl into bed. Even if all I do is nap for a few hours and I'm wide awake again after, I think that would be better than sitting here for 2 hours until 'bedtime'. I know I'm supposed to 'maintain regular sleep patterns' but I think in the current situation, sleeping when tired is more important.
I-376, like many other highways, has those overhead digital signs that somebody updates with topical messages like "accident, right lane closed 1 mi" or "stadium parking exit 72A" or, when they've got nothing better to say, "buckle up -- it's the law". There are two of these signs on my commute that, in their default states, say "distance to downtown: N mi, M min". Which, while usually not especially helpful to me (I live five miles from downtown), is still more useful to me than seatbelt nags. (I always use seatbelts.)
This morning, while stopped in traffic near Oakland, I saw one of those signs update from "4 mi, 5 min" to "4 mi, 6 min". That was less inaccurate, but far from accurate -- I reached downtown about 25 minutes later. (This is all very unusual; two of three lanes were closed due to a bad accident. My commute is sometimes slow, but I don't remember the last time I was in stopped morning traffic.)
It got me wondering -- do the indicators on those signs update automatically based on sensor data or are they human-controlled? The fact that an update happened but didn't jump to a more-appropriate number makes me think that we're dealing with an automated system that only bumps one unit at a time. (I would hope that a human would have updated it to warn about the accident.)
Why would it be designed to only increment in single units? Or is it a bug? What are the inputs to these signs, anyway?
The Order of Truth's Aeon Priests have resurrected our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the tabletop science-fantasy roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future.
By now, I imagine most of my fellow geeks are aware that when Peter Capaldi leaves Doctor Who in the coming Christmas special, he’ll be replaced by Jodie Whittaker. Naturally, not everyone was happy about the next Doctor being…gasp…a woman.
As the conversation progressed, I started to see more people suggesting the backlash wasn’t a thing. All they were seeing was people complaining about the backlash, as opposed to anyone actually being unhappy about a woman playing the Doctor. The whole thing was people getting angry over nothing, and feeding on each other’s anger.
Now Steven Moffat himself has joined in to proclaim, â€śThere has been so many press articles about a backlash among theÂ Doctor WhoÂ fandom about casting a female Doctor. There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionallyÂ conservativeÂ Doctor WhoÂ fandom has utterly embraced that change completely.â€ť
Oddly, most of the people I’ve seen saying the backlash is imaginary, made-up, and/or blown completely out of proportion, have been men. Perhaps — and I’m just guessing here — because it’s easier for men to overlook sexism? Misogyny doesn’t directly affect us, so we’re less likely to notice it?
It’s like white people denying racism, straight people denying the hatred and intolerance of homosexuality, and so on. Just because we don’t see it — perhaps because we choose not to look, or perhaps because we’ve never learned to look — doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
For all those who share Moffat’s confusion, here are just a few examples of the ignorant, sexist, hateful, and sometimes flat-out batshit responses to Whittaker taking over as the Doctor.
“The replacement of male with female is meant to erase femininity. In point of fact, and no matter what anyone thinks or wishes, readers and viewers have a different emotional relationship to female characters as male. This does not mean, obviously, that females cannot be protagonists or cannot be leaders. It means mothers cannot be fathers and queens cannot be kings.
“…I have been a fan of Dr Who since age seven, when Tom Baker was the Doctor. I have tolerated years of public service announcements in favor of sexual deviance that pepper the show. But this is too much to tolerate.
“The BBC has finally done what The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen have failed to do. They killed off the Doctor.”
Twitter also has plenty of comments like this fellow’s woeful lament, “And again the PC brigade get their way. R.I.P Doctor Who” (Source)
British tabloid and shit-filled dumpster fire The Sun responded to the announcement by publishing nude photos of Judie Whittaker.
But remember everyone, it’s not about sexism!
“It’s a woman. That’s it, Doctor Who is ruined. Like I said, I’m not sexist, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.” –Mark S.W.
Now, folks might argue that the majority of Doctor Who fans are excited about the Doctor being a woman. (Though there’s a very real and valid frustration that we’re on our fourteenth doctor and the character has still been exclusively white.) Others will say some of the negative comments are coming from trolls just looking to get a reaction, or that of course Daily Mail readers are being horrid about Whittaker’s casting.
You might be right. That doesn’t change the fact that the negativity exists. It’s not one or two isolated assholes. It’s a real and significant thing, and it’s closely tied to the kind of harassment and disdain and hatred and other forms of sexism women deal with every day. Sexism that men so often don’t see. Sexism we respond to by telling women they’re overreacting, or they’re just imagining things, or that if they’d just stop talking about it the problem would somehow magically go away.
I get it. You’re tired of hearing people complain about sexism. Gosh, can you imagine how tiring it must be when you’re constantly on the receiving end of that sexism. Constantly being told you shouldn’t be allowed to play the same kinds of roles. Constantly being told your only worth comes from your body. Constantly being told your inclusion is some kind of public service announcement. Constantly having your accomplishments belittled as “PC pandering.”
Look, I wish we didn’t have folks like Wright rolling around with his head up his ass every time his Straight White Manliness feels threatened by a cartoon or a TV show or whatever else he’s scared of this week, but we do. Pretending otherwise not only turns a blind eye to the pervasiveness of sexism and other forms of bigotry, it also means turning your back on those who are directly targeted by that intolerance every day.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Still it's been 25 years, so this year I started looking at other cars. Decided on getting a 928S, they are big, heavy, fast cars, the big brothers of the 944's. And since I know the 944S engine (it's very complex) I know that a 928S is just that times two. So off I looked at a number of clunks, clunkers, before finally bidding on (and winning) this one in PA.
Best part is I bought it with bitcoins I had from all the work I do on stuff. Last year I was able to buy an ounce of gold with 2 bitcoins, now I can buy a Porsche....
Getting it home was fun. One of the requirements in my life is I have to drive the darn thing back, I am not towing wrecks. So my dad and I drove 4 hours out to Verona PA to pick up the car and get tags. Verona is near Pittsburgh, nice enough place with lots of poor white people. The car barely ran, and the driver's side window was broken along with the heat being on. So I had to drive it home nice and easy in 95+ degree temps with only the passenger window for air. It was, shall we say a long drive. But the motor got better as we drove, and I think I know what the root problem is (it's a simple fix, ignition computers go bad).Got it home before nightfall, and promptly went to bed.
Interesting side note: When we went to get the title notarized we went to one of those strip malls with a PA license and title center in it. Nice lady working it, with a guy as the notary. She totalled up the bill for the services ($100) and asked if I would pay cash or credit. Credit I said and handed over my Amex Gold card.
They both.... looked at it. They apparently had never seen one, and they thought it was unusual. I though at first they were joking, but no they got one a few months back but normally don't get Amex. Then it hit me: Amex requires you to pay in full every month. And in this area everyone lives on credit cards so no one would have Amex. Note to self: This is the White Working Class people that put Trump in office. Also note I didn't see one Trump sign there or back, and the two barns that had big Trump things on the side had been painted over (I drove out there early this year). Guess they are starting to see what they got....
Anyway spent the weekend working on the car, got the window working, sunroof working, heat working, mirrors, all sorts of stuff. Still need to work on the AC system and a few other things but the car is surprisingly sound. And fast, when the computers are working properly the thing is a BEAST. Thus it's new name, the beast. 5.0 liter 300hp 32v V8 engine and a supporting system designed to cruise at 130-150mph all day long....
Now I'm off to vegas for BlackHat, I'll do some drunken posting while there I am sure but I do also have a lot of meetings and things to take care of. So it's going to be a busy trip. Eventually I'll get some more time to finish this thing up and get it registered in MD, got 2 months to make that happen...
Like the first book, it's a plotty, compelling sf thriller with a strong cast of mostly-female characters. Also like the first book, this isn't a utopian Star Trek-type space opera; it's an examination of what it means to live in a society that's far more authoritarian than any of its citizens would care to admit, and of how an authoritarian regime can exploit the small (and not so small) differences between people to bring discord and division to a previously-harmonious society; and if I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I enjoyed The Baba Yaga, I think it's simply that the world I live in has shifted between last September, when I read that, and now, and I found it so dark that in places it was quite difficult to read, knowing what's going on in the world around me.
A reader named Molly asked me "you seem so confident in your 'you-ness" - how do you get to know yourself so well? I feel like I don't know who I am." Here's what I said: Dear Molly, If I tell you something like "your sense of self is entirely in your own hands," would you consider that good news or bad news? Hopefully it's the first, because it's true. In the 1960s, this dude named Daryl Bem came up with the theory of self perception, a theory of attitude formation. The theory says our sense of self is formed by our actions, not the other way around. I know that seems counter intuitive. We think that if you're an inherently brave person, you do brave things. But Bem's theory says it's the other way around. If you do a brave thing, you think of yourself as a brave person. I can hear your eyes rolling, but wait up, listen, it holds water as a theory. Let's imagine you're afraid to hang glide because you think of yourself as a coward. Now imagine your friends badger you into it anyway. You do it, and you're successful, even though you didn't choose it for yourself. Now you've done this brave thing, and you decide maybe you were wrong, you actually are a brave person. Subsequently you begin to think of yourself as someone brave. Later you tell the story of hang gliding to a stranger and they gaspâ€”"you're so fearless," they say. Yes, you think to yourself, I guess I am! The story is confirmed. But IT'S NOT WRONG. You are what you do. Tell a story about yourself, you become that story. Good or bad. What does this have to do with your question? Maybe you've already figured it out. If you decide to go digging to find out who your are, all you'll find is an empty hole waiting to be filled. Who you are isn't a concrete entity waiting to be uncovered. You don't have to wistfully think, I wish I was a gentler person, but I'm just not: you can decide to be a gentler person. You don't have to sigh and wish you were braver: you can do brave things & grow into them. You don't have to say, I wish I was bad ass: buy a set of good sunglasses and live it until you are it. Is it easy? No. But I guess that's why they call it character-building. urs, Stiefvater
- Nominations: Tuesday, October 10 - Sunday, October 22
- Sign Ups: Tuesday, October 24 - Sunday, November 5
- Assignments Out: Monday, November 13
- Assignments Due: Saturday, December 9
- Work Reveals: Sunday, December 17
- Author Reveals: Sunday, December 21
If you signal-boost this post and I can see you've done it, I will draw one card-equivalent for you per signal boost. Paypal.me money for any further or more complex reading:
* 1 USD (or a link to a signal-boosting post) for a single card-equivalent in any system
* 3 USD for a three-card spread (this biddytarot.com post is a useful resource) in any cards system
* 10 USD for a Celtic Cross spread or for any spread from Tarot Spreads of the Greek Gods (these vary in purpose and contain from six to sixteen cards; talk to me and we'll decide which is best for your question) with the Hanson-Roberts cards
* 20 USD for a lithomancy reading (stones represent planets and the casting cloth is astrological houses)
Divination systems I'm reading from for the single card-equivalents:
* Motherpeace Tarot cards
* Hanson-Roberts Tarot cards
* Homeric Oracle dice
* Greek Alphabet Oracle stones
* shufflemancy songs (give me a whole number greater than or equal to 0 and less than or equal to 24, and I'll skip that many songs on shuffle before hitting the one whose lyrics should contain your answer)
* Oracle Bones coins
* Hermes binary coins (the answer will be a strong or weak yes or a strong or weak no; craft your question especially carefully)
Leave a comment in this post, send me a Dreamwidth private message, or email me at alexeigynaix at gmail dot com, and I shall reply in the same manner.