and a fear of fire and water. who am I?

Squid!

So, several things! Because I am mostly written out for the afternoon and I’ve got an hour or so before I have to be anywhere specific.

First of all, a few days ago I read this post by Hal Duncan about rules for new writers and thought to myself, “Yeah, what he said!”

So then. Just a word to the wise, when you’re subbing a story to either Podcastle or GigaNotoSaurus, and you’ve got a character who’s a member of the clergy? Please consider finding such a person and having an actual conversation with them. It’s gotten to where I reflexively wince when I realize a submission has a nun or a priest in it. Or, Mithras help us all, a monk. Nuns and priests are, like, real human beings. The next ms I read with a prim and pious nun in it will send me screaming into the streets. Look, my great-aunt was a nun. I went to Catholic schools. I know from nuns. Nuns and priests (of any religion, honestly) have religious beliefs that I don’t share, and in some cases actively campaign against, but they’re real human beings. Not cardboard cutouts.

So. I’ve had a hard week writing. I’ve had hours and hours free every day, and the whole time I kind of sat at my desk in my beautiful basement office (thanks Mr. Leckie! You rock in so many ways!) and pulled at my hair and wondered if maybe my sales so far had been a fluke and maybe I should pack it in, cause I sure wasn’t getting anything down on paper this week that was even remotely for public consumption. I never should have imagined I could be a writer, I produced only stupid ideas, wrote only stupid stories.

In short, I’ve been having an “I Suck” week. To make it worse, my real-life crit group meets on Sunday and I’d been telling myself that if I wrote like a big, tea-powered writing machine, I’d have something to send in for crit. But the machine was jammed. After several days of very high doses the tea did seem to help things move along a bit, but crit approached steadily, as it will, and I was not as far along as I wanted.

This morning I was walking in circles (or ellipses actually) around the football field and I thought, “You know what? It’s not going to be done in time. I really ought to just give up on that idea and face facts. There’s no real deadline for this piece.”

Reader, it felt lovely. The proverbial weight lifted from my proverbial shoulders and I went home and had breakfast and sat down and I actually feel like I got some work done on this story. Not enough to be done for Sunday, but who the hell cares?

Always used to wonder who I’d bring to a desert island

Monk's Mound, Cahokia

Hey, I just realized that I never mentioned Halfway Human being back in print.

Halfway Human is back in print! It’s by Carolyn Ives Gilman–you remember “Arkfall,” which was fabulous and on the Nebula ballot this year and everything? Yeah. She has this novel about a world where babies are born neuter, and when they become adults some become male, some female, and some stay neuter. Only it’s not really that simple. It’s well worth a read. I’d write more in detail, but honestly I’m not good at that sort of thing, and it’s been several years since I read it and I’ve loaned my (pretty old) copy to a friend to read. Maybe I need to order a new one!

I would point you to her website but she hasn’t got one! I have advised her to correct this ASAP. As soon as she has one I will link y’all up. Sound good? Good!

five lined skink

Yeah, I was supposed to be writing all day, and instead I was fiddling around with my website. I’ve got a pretty new WordPress theme, though!

Anyway. I’ve been kind of quiet for a while–not sure why, I guess there’s just been plenty to do. I did write a blog post and then let it sit on my hard drive instead of posting it–it seemed too disjointed for public consumption.

There are a few things in that post, though, that I think bear saying publicly.

Item the first–and context, as James Nicol says, is for the weak: The idea that anyone can be colorblind, utterly free of prejudice, is bollocks. And the more you tell yourself that you don’t see color and that’s the way to defeat racism, the more you open yourself to speaking and acting in a racist manner–and the less you are able to prevent it. Trying to “solve” racism by declaring that everyone should be colorblind is like trying to “solve” the holes in your roof by declaring that everyone should be rain-blind. The more you try to not see the rain pouring through the roof, the less you can do to actually get you and your things dried off and begin to patch the freaking roof.

And when the people around you point out that rain is pouring through the roof, smugly announcing that if they would only stop focusing on the rain everything would be puppies and ice cream is not actually a good way to get dried off. “Holy crap, it’s soaking here, let me get a towel and we’ll call a roofer” might help. “You’re perpetuating the rain by acknowledging its existence” will, sorry to say, not. Help, I mean.

Item the second: GigaNotoSaurus will launch in November. I’ve already bought several awesome stories. By all means, submit yours, if you’ve got ’em!

But. Please, if your story’s ending involves the main character discovering s/he is actually dead and needs to move on? Please think hard before you send it. To anyone, not just me.

In the “just me” category, if you’re sending something to GigaNotoSaurus, those of you who don’t already ought to know that my tolerance for sweet is very low. If you’re doing sweet, it has to be either really freaking amazing, or it has to be cut with something darker and more bitter–and cut carefully. I’m not a horror reader, I don’t require shocking or disturbing. I’ve got nothing against happy endings. It’s just that too much sugar makes me kind of sick to my stomach. Saccharine will make me actually break out in hives. Obvious morals–especially ones that can be reduced down to the sort of twenty-five-words-or-less motivational poster Despair Inc was founded to mock will also not find much traction with me.

I know several people whose taste and intelligence I respect who differ from me in their tolerance for sweet. These same people sometimes really really love stories I am completely unimpressed by, or are themselves unimpressed by stories I regard highly. It’s just how things are.

Oh, and I’d love to see more science fiction than I’m getting.

This is a test

This is only a test.

Dinosaur wants to eat you--you say, No!

If this had been a real post, there would have been actual content. I’m just playing with WordPress and crossposting plugins.