Friday, March 31, 2006

Covering My Ass

Oh, how I love those corporate moments when the fact that I screwed something up becomes an asset to the company and means I *don't* have to do something ALL OVER AGAIN.

Ever better, I had some bullshit excuse as to why I just "decided" not to update those particular dates, "Seeings as all of these dates are currently in flux while we wait for verification of our construction schedule from the client."

They really should pay me more money.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Someday It Will Be Spring

My back-porch garden is growing.

It is most excellent.

The older I get, the more I start to take pleasure in the little things again. The little things add up.

One of the cab drivers in Indy asked me if I was 22 or 23, because I looked "too young" to have a Master's degree.

"Twenty-six," I said.

"Uh. Oh," he said.

I do *not* look 22, dude.

I suppose I will look old and wise soon enough. No sense rushing it.

Also, as a side note: Indiana drivers are all fucking incompetent. They drive on flat, straight freeways and still manage to get into more accidents than anybody in any city I've been in outside Durban.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig

Anybody in Chicagoland looking for a really good Admin/Executive Assistant/Contract Writer/Project Coordinator?

Honestly, I can do just about anything for 40-50K a year.

I'm not really picky.

Just don't send me to Indianapolis.


First major pass of edits are done for The Dragon's Wall.

The book is going to fucking rock.

Printing it out tonight or tomorrow and doing line edits on the whole shebang. Inputting line edits, then it goes to the next round of readers for feedback.

At least this book will go out on time.

10 Things I've Learned About Writing Meme:

I'll revisit this when I'm 40

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ode to My Hotel Room In Indianapolis

There is totally someone vomiting in the hall right now.

I'm going to bed.

Things To Do In Indy When You're Dead

My boss wants me to maintain my purgatory here in Indy every week, preferably 3-4 days a week. I tried to get him to compromise at 2, but it turns out our client just canned the person who does the equivalent of my job for them, and now I need to help out until everybody's happy.

Thing is - I hate it here. Really hate it. I have no car, and there isn't anywhere to go anyway. I walked to a little Mexican place for dinner, and picked up some things at the grocery store on the way back. It's a nice walk to get the blood flowing, but there are no sidewalks, so I have to walk in the street.

I suppose the good news is: all there is to do here is write and read. And swim in the pool.

I was just starting to get over all of my stress, so adding this to the mix really wasn't a great idea. I stepped onto the puddle jumper plane and had to fight down the urge to scramble back off the plane and run screaming through the terminal. Stress exacerbates my claustrophobia, but even knowing that, I startle myself when I feel it.

I've been crying a lot more over odd little things, too. I kept tearing up while watchingt V for Vendetta, of all things.

I'm exhausted.

"All happiness depends on courage and work," Balzac once said. "I have had many periods of wretchedness, but with energy and above all with illusions, I pulled through them all."

Until he died at 50. I'd like to keep trucking a little longer than that.

What I Know About Writing:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your early career. Oh nevermind;
you will not understand the power and beauty of your early career until they have faded
and you can barely eke out a few three-act short stories a year
for semi-pro magazines who just want your D-list name on the cover.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at jacket photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you
and how brilliant you really were.

You’re not as bad at this as you imagine.

Yoga: Take 2

The instructor for my Friday yoga class was a woman who trained in India, the sort who could turn herself into a pretzel at will.

“And this is a preparatory exercise so that eventually you’ll be able to do this!” and then she proceeded to contort herself in a Cirque de Soleil fashion.

I’m enjoying these classes at the end of the day. They really relax me and help me unwind. The first one kicked my ass and I was sore for three days. The second one wasn’t nearly as bad, physically. We spent a lot of time talking about the forms and the philosophy behind the forms, which meant less intensity, but more time for thinking about what we were doing.

The end is always the best part, sitting in the dark, closing your eyes, letting everything fall away.

I have been carrying so much.

V For Vendetta

“People shouldn’t fear their governments. Governments should fear their people.”

“Don’t give an inch.”

“When you no longer fear, you are free.”

Jenn and I went out and saw V for Vendetta on Saturday – fantastic show, highly recommended.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Friday, March 24, 2006


I'm such a fan girl.

June, baby.

Quote of the Day

"Every path serves a purpose."

In Which the Protagonist Tries to Resurrect A Chapter

Why does it not surprise me that I'm bad at writing character relationships that are supposed to be romantic?

Gee, I wonder.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Released Without Comment...

What's Up With My Life

When plan A falls apart, plans B & C kick in.

The plan right now is to apply for the writing gig at the gaming company in Edmonton. If that doesn't pan out, I'm joining the Peace Corps.

If that doesn't work out, well, there's a reason I'm starting a savings account (finally). It'll be picking up and finding another city, likely Seattle, or seeing where Jenn is headed. If she gets a job somewhere that isn't, like, South Dakota, we'll see if we can room up again.

Here's to hoping for dialogue-writing in Edmonton.

I need a smaller city.

Time For a Cheeseburger


On Writing

When I was fourteen, I bought myself a cheap silver ring with a multi-colored stone and put it on the ring finger of my left hand and decided I'd be married to my writing.

Boys weren't interested in me for anything beyond friendship - never had been - and I wanted to make a real, passionate commitment to something in my life. I'd been writing for two years with the intent of being a writer, and everything I'd read about the matter said that being a writer was Hard Work, and I could expect decades of rejection, but if I was persistent, it might pay off in some way.

At sixteen, I gave that ring over to my high school boyfriend and he wore it around his neck on a black cord. He wanted a "real" commitment from me. That was the best one I could think of.

By eighteen, I wasn't writing anymore, was on the verge of commiting suicide, and was stuck in an increasingly stifling relationship. He kept trying to give me other rings - diamonds and otherwise - but I rejected all of them. I didn't want to marry him. I was already taken.

And now that I'm thinking of dating again, I realize I need to be wholly honest with my partner and have them really get it - the writing comes first.

A part of me wishes it didn't. It would be fun for a guy to be with some sort of self-sacrificing maiden from some fairytale, I guess, but I'm not.

It's not that I don't feel things. I fall in love very easily. I love people. And when I love them, I tend to love them forever, no matter what kind of psycho they turn out to be. Because there's something lovable about almost everybody.

But I'm very clear this time around. More even than I was after my high school boyfriend.

I have something I will lose myself in far more often than I'll lose myself in a lover's eyes. I have something I'll think about far longer than a lover's embrace. I have whole worlds in my head, an army of people, and a far future goal about where this writing is going to take me and what it will do for me.

And I will give up everything for that, because without it, I go a little nuts.

Without it, I'm not me.

Wow, That Sufficiently Pissed Me Off!

And now I'm about the bang the shit out of the last chapters of the rewrite.

It's such a great way to channel all that energy...

Support the SD Oglala Sioux Planned Parenthood

Here's all the contact info on where to send your cash, chiklits:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

ETA: Make checks out to OST Planned Parenthood Cecelia Fire Thunder. This will ensure that the funds get routed properly.

For email contact, you can contact the president at:

firethunder_president AT NOSPAM yahoo DOT com
cc:vbush AT NOSPAM oglala DOT org



Strange Horizons just accepted my story, "The Women of Our Occupation."

I am so jazzed.

Also, their rates have gone up. Fucking sweet!!!

Gee, someday I may be a real writer....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Send NARAL Some Money

Me & Jenn did, and we're poor and have no money. But hey, that's $20 more to stuff down some asshole's throat.

If SD pisses you off, why not send some money to somebody worthwhile? Even $5. It'll make you feel better. That, or you could send hangers to the governor of SD. I'm getting increasingly pissed off, and that'll be my next act of anger.

Cause it's abortion today, and birth control tomorrow, and isn't that exciting!

IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN ABORTION, DON'T HAVE ONE. Don't try telling me what my "empty vessel" body's good for. That's my decision.

And whoever these women are who believe that they're "aborting babies" by taking the pill because they're confused about what the pill does (makes your body think you're pregnant, so you don't ovulate), and what abortion is ("abortion" doesn't happen until *after* a *fertilized egg* *attaches itself to the uterus* and is *removed from the uterus after having been attached*) - DON'T TAKE THE PILL. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE KILLING "BABIES" THEN DON'T USE BIRTH CONTROL OR DON'T HAVE SEX.

Don't tell me what to do with my own girl parts, thanks. That's my decision.

You know, Iran tried this "ban contraception" thing and doubled their population in 10 years. They had to retract that particular little law because they couldn't support the excess population - too many abandoned babies, too many poor men and women who needed help from the state to raise their children, huge drain on social services.

But nobody reads history anymore.

Ode To The Venom Cock

This is not a feminist book, despite much contrary argument.

It also has no plot.

If I can ever manage to wade through the last heap of this sorry little fucker, I'm going to bitch all about it.

Dear South Dakota: More Fuck-Yous

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed (at the SD abortion ban). A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” she said to me last week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

That's probably the coolest Fuck You ever. Where do I send PP and Fire Thunder some money for *that* venture?

Back To Indy

It's like some kind of conspiracy. They know I hate it there, so they keep sending me.

Monday and Tuesday in the Great Plains of Nowhere.

Gee, I'm so excited.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Dragon's Wall

Ten chapters to go in the major rewrite of tDW. It's exhausting, yea, but it's a good book, and it's fun watching it become a better book.

After that, I need to decide if I want to keep one of my POV characters or dump him for someone else, then rewrite those, print, revise, send to my next set of readers, revise again. Print.

Then send out and wipe my hands of it for a month or two while Agent reviews revisions.

After that, I bury myself back into God's War.

It's really nice to be writing again.

I feel a lot saner.

Behind Every Great Writer...

Not that Brown's a "great writer," but it's a nice look at the invisible partners-behind-the-writers.

This week Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, revealed that his wife Blythe helps him write his bestsellers. It puts him in good company...

Why Am I Wearing Size Twelve Pants? (And Why Is It So Damn Cold Outside?)

While sitting on my heels in yoga class on Friday, I stared at my reflection on the mirrored wall. I looked at the reflection of the others in the class.

And for the first time in a long, long time, I realized I was average-sized. I did not look like a mushroom. I did not look twice as big as all of the women in class. Sure, I'm tall and big in the hips, but when you line me up with everyone else, I don't immediately stick out as being huger than the rest.

On Saturday, I tried on a couple pairs of size 12 jeans and slipped right into them. Today, for the first time, I'm weaing 12s to work.

You would think - after looking at myself in the mirror every day and dropping two sizes since Christmas - that I would think of myself as average-sized. You would think I'd strut around and take pride in my size M sweat pants, size M T-shirts and size L work shirts.

But I don't. Not really. I keep thinking they've done something with the clothing sizes. They must have made them all bigger. That's the problem. That's why I've had to purge 80% of my wardrobe in the last six months.

In my head, I'm still a fat girl.

I grew up being "the fat girl." I grew up getting spit on and made fun of for it. Guys loved being "just friends" with me. Women loved the fact that they didn't have to compete with me. I internalized this idea of myself, of being too big in a world that wanted small women. I'm still the height and weight of the average guy, so really, by social standards I *am* still big, just not as gargantuan as I think I am. I'm at my Alaska weight, my highschool theater weight. I'm at the weight I hit when all is right in my world and I'm not binge eating.

But imagine, just imagine the sort of strange body image you'd have of yourself if you'd spent the last 14 years yo-yoing from a size 12 to a 22. You'd have a pretty weird image of your body. When I look in the mirror, whether at a 12 or a 22, I see the same person.

Nobody else seems to, except maybe my closest friends. My body shape stays roughly the same - I just get more of it when I'm heavier, and less when I'm thinner. Still big in the hips and shoulders, small in the bust, long-legged, big in the thighs. It's the same almost-hourglass shape (made hourglass not with large breasts, but wide shoulders). It's all the same.

The real kicker is that the last two times I was at this weight, I was either 1) eating once or twice a day (high school theater, when I was 14/15) 2) going to the gym 5 days a week, doing a weight routine 5 mornings a week, living primarily on brown rice and eggs, and riding my bike 2-3 times a week (Alaska, when I was 19-21).

Now I eat pretty much everything all the time, lift weights 5 mornings a week, and go the gym once, maybe twice a week (and I haven't been in ages, except for the yoga class. Trying to get back on that, for stength and stamina purposes, not weight loss).

There's really something to the whole "eat when you're hungry and stop dieting" thing. The yo-yoing stops.

I'd say that stress was a factor - and maybe it is - but my usual template when stressed is that I *gain* weight, because I binge eat and get depressed. But I don't binge eat anymore.

It's funny how long it takes you to figure out your body. I think the Christian-hate-your-corporeal-body stuff is deep-rooted in our society, and so it takes longer to understand how everything works than it would otherwise. It took me forever to realize that my sex drive spiked sharply about the time I was ovulating. It's taken me six months to realize all of these little ailments are huge signs of prolonged stress. And eating... eating... it's taken me so long to figure out that eating doesn't have to be about hating yourself, or punishing yourself, or about being guilty. Eating is about fueling up for the next round of weight lifting, for the next flight of stairs. There's pleasure in eating, in fulfilling a craving, and less pleasure in overeating than I always thought.

Strength, too, has enormous benefits. I tried so hard to be thin and waifish and beat myself up because I was so big and tall, and now I realize how much strength and power there is in being big and tall. I have a body that's great for boxing and weight lifting. Pretty perfect for it, really. I enjoy bike riding. I intend to make the weekly yoga class routine. I spent so, so long hating this body for not being Britney-Spears-Beautiful that I ignored what it *could* do. What I can teach it to do.

I just got so tired of hating myself.

And now I'm single again, and scrutinizing myself in the mirror again, this time to try and see what other people see. I'm trying to figure out if I'm attractive, really attractive in the sense that somebody would actually want to date me. Which is absurd, of course - somebody either likes you or they don't, and there's no use beating yourself up about that, either. But it's on my mind. It's something I stir around.

I am an intimidating woman. Lots of people have said so. It makes me a little sad that potential partners get freaked out by that, but why would I want to be with somebody who got freaked out by the fact that I was taller than him, or outweighed him by 30 lbs? If that's all it takes to freak him out, the Master's Degree and the novel writing will send him screaming for the hills.

And that's been my problem all along. I get so excited at the idea that there's a smart guy who's attracted to me that I don't stop and think. I don't think about how equal we are, how secure he is with who I am and what I do.

For all my strength and smarts, I can still get stuck in the idea that I should feel happy just because some guy is interested in me. It's the siren song of the media trap: you're a strong, smart woman. You should feel lucky to end up with any guy at all.

Such bullshit.

Because if there are no strong, smart guys who can handle me, you know what? I've got strong, smart, friends. And those friends could give a shit if I'm a size 12 or a 22.

I am blessed. I am lucky. Because even when I'm single, I'm not alone.

That's the trick. That's the key. That's what nobody talks about.

Sex and partners are great. But I've got friends who'll be with me until the end of the world.

So here I sit in my size 12 pants, waiting around for more snow to fall . I don't feel much different than I did at a 22. Maybe stronger, because of the weight lifting, lighter, more flexible. But in the mirror, I'm just me.

Just Kameron.

I write books. I'm doing Friday yoga classes. I'm teaching myself Arabic. I want to take a French class if I'm still here in the fall. I'm applying for a writing job at a gaming company. I lift weights. I enjoy boxing. I want to run around the world and back again. I want to bungee jump in New Zealand. I want to live overseas again before I'm 30. I want to get back to boxing before I'm 30. I want to hold the world in the palm of my hand, when I'm 30.

I want. I desire.

And they are the same wants and desires, whether I'm a 12 or a 22.

I realize that. I wonder if anyone else does.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Gee, Maybe It's All Stress


(with an "X" by the ones I've had the last 6-8 months)

X sleep disturbances
X back, shoulder or neck pain
X tension or migraine headaches
X upset or acid stomach, cramps, heartburn, gas, irritable bowel syndrome
constipation, diarrhea
X weight gain or loss, eating disorders
hair loss
X muscle tension
X fatigue
high blood pressure
irregular heartbeat, palpitations
asthma or shortness of breath
chest pain
sweaty palms or hands
cold hands or feet
X skin problems (hives, eczema, psoriasis, tics, itching)
X periodontal disease, jaw pain
X reproductive problems
X immune system suppression: more colds, flu, infections
growth inhibition
X nervousness, anxiety
X depression, moodiness
X irritability, frustration
X memory problems
X lack of concentration
X trouble thinking clearly
X feeling out of control
substance abuse
X phobias
X overreactions

And this tidbit: Susceptibility to yeast infections can be caused by prolonged periods of stress. Recurrent yeast infections may be from a relapse due to an alteration in the immune response system due to stress. Stress has been greatly underestimated in the cause of some illnesses and infections. You may need to find ways to reduce your stress as much as possible.

The "reproductive" problems have finally begun to ease up. It's pretty painful to go to a doctor for the second time and hear that you don't have a yeast infection, you don't have an STD (well, OK, it's *good* to hear that part) - there is, in fact, nothing wrong with you at all. Too bad for you that you're itchy and in pain.

You're stressed out. And your body's telling you so.

I decided to look up symptoms of stress after reading this post over at boingboing. In addition to all the other health problems I've had the last 6-8 months, I noticed I was getting these itchy and/or dry patches of skin. The itchy patches are now almost completely gone, and the dry patches are as well. My heartburn has gone away since I broke up with B. I had a nightmare last night that I was sick with some horrible virus or stomach flu again. I feel like I've done nothing but be sick for the last year.

For some time, I've had trouble sleeping. I still get up 3-4 times a night. When I brush my teeth, my gums bleed a lot more than they should. And I had these days of excessive thirst where no matter how much I drank, I still felt dehydrated. My moments of claustrophobia were starting to pick up, particularly in airplanes, then on the train. My claustrophobia has been mostly dormant for some time.

I didn't think any of these things were related.

Our client here at the day job is beginning a 3-week "work freeze" on all of their cell sites beginning the 31st.

I'm thinking that'll be a good time to take some time off.

Octavia Butler Clarion Scholarship

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start. It is meant to cement Octavia's legacy by providing the same experience/opportunity that Octavia had to future generations of new writers of color. In addition to her stint as a student at the original Clarion Writers Workshop in Pennsylvania in 1970, Octavia taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan, giving generously of her time to a cause she believed in.

The first Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in 2007. We'll announce details of the application process later this year.

Our goal for a fully endowed scholarship fund is $100,000. At this time, we welcome your tax deductible gift of any amount to this fund. Please use the button (on the linked page) to donate via PayPal or a major credit card. If you'd prefer to make your donation in the form of a check or money order, please make it payable to "The Carl Brandon Society" and note that it is for "The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund." Then mail your donation to:

The Octavia E. Butler
Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o The Carl Brandon Society
P.O. Box 23336
Seattle, WA 98102


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Good Morning, Chicklits

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Chicagoland.

Cold, though, still. Someday it'll be spring.

Also, for anybody who's ever felt like they've failed in life and can't get up again, I recommend watching the entertaining Elizabeth Town, in which Orlando Bloom actually has a personality.

Trust me.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My First Yoga Class

Had my first yoga class tonight - an hour and a half.

That's a lot of yoga.

It kicked me pretty well, though I've done pilates before, so it wasn't totally different.

The best part of the night was the last ten minutes when the instructor had us close our eyes and relax, and shook out our legs for us. Then we sat in the meditation pose for a minute, and she said, "Whatever comes into your head, just let it go. Just let it go."

Let. It. Go.

Fall down seven times. Get up eight.

Let it go.

My Games are Here!

It is a sweet day when playing video games becomes job research.

Most excellent.

Last Night...

I dreamt that I was at my little high school theater, sitting in the audience watching a show being put on by Ben Rosenbaum and Meghan McCarron and a bunch of people from my days back at the theater. For some reason, they were doing an audio recording of the show for David Moles, because he's in Switzerland.

I sat next to my old friend Ryan, who still looked fourteen, and he told me he'd had a dream that the two of us were married and owned a truck-repair business.

"How'd that dream make you feel?" I asked.

"Happy," he said.

Behind us sat the VanderMeers, and Jeff kept trying to get my attention.

"After the show we should all go out and get something to eat," Jeff said.

"Sure, sure," I said, but this idea filled me with panic, because this was my hometown of Battle Ground, and.. there aren't any good places to eat there.

So while the show rolled and David's tape recorder recorded and Ryan tried to decide whether or not to ask me to marry him, I worried over where the hell I could take the VanderMeers out to dinner that wouldn't embarrass me. The local Burgerville seemed a little bit gauche.

Moral of the story:

I need to stop reading my blogroll so much.

And invest in a high-quality eatery in Battle Ground.

So sad...

... to still love someone you know you had to leave.

On the "Benefits" of Abstinence-Only Education & A Country Without Roe

An average of 5 women…(I teach) usually out of a total of 10 to 15…have to be educated about their reproductive cycle, how sex may result in pregnancy, what contraceptive methods are available to them and/or how to choose the best method. And Average of 5 women per class cycle relate misinformation about contraception…feel that using the pill may make them unable to have a baby in the future…believe that the pill may protect them against sexually transmitted diseases…feel that it is inappropriate to ask their sexual partner to use a condom because it ‘assumes that they are sick’…strongly believe that they can not contract a sexually transmitted disease from oral sex…think the withdrawal method works...think that you can ‘tell by looking at someone’ if they have a sexually transmitted disease…and do not feel that they need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases until they are pregnant because they ‘feel fine’...

One current student engaged in over 60 unprotected sexual encounters in an effort to ‘get rid of those sinful feelings for women’ and sincerely hopes that her child ‘helps her not be a dyke anymore’.

And it goes on and on

Read the rest at Angry Black Bitch

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Funny Thing...

... about living for so long under such high stress is that you don't know how bad it was until it goes away.

It's Still Snowing


The good news is, all of this damn editing is finally getting done.

It's Snowing


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today's Writing Project:

Extract 40 pages (2 chapters) of pretty bad, jumbled writing from tDW. Make a list of all the plot points that occur in those chapters.

Rewrite the chapters to include all of those plot points, only in half the word length and with twice the tension.

Ah, rewriting.

I'm going to be so happy to start a new book in December. Ah, December, when I'll be rewriting God's War. At least tDW will be in the mail again by October.


I was on the phone with my buddy Stephanie the other night - I've known her since we were fourteen or fifteen, and she's quite familiar with the fuck-up that was my only other relationship.

I've been mostly OK about my current breakup, though there are times when I experience these terrible moments of absolute grief. B is a good man. Despite all our troubles and differences, he is really wonderful, and I know I'm lucky I dated such a great person. We just weren't right for each other.

"Just think of it this way," Stephanie said. "When you broke up with B, he didn't threaten to kill you and drink bleach. That's an improvement from that other guy you dated. It'll all get better from here."

Gee, it better.

I feel like every time I try to get into some kind of sexual relationship with somebody, it all goes bad. I've had two relationships and two brief affairs. One guy was an abusive fucker. The other one too emotionally exhausting for me. Breaking up with both of them was incredibly hard. I'd like to say the affairs were better, but one of them nearly cost me our friendship, and the other one had a girlfriend who later threatened to kill me.

I'm not seeing a real great pattern here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ah, Nick

Am I saying you're a bad writer? Sure I am.

Why is it I'm one of those cynical writers who thinks all writers (including me) should be discouraged?

I suppose some part of me hopes that if enough writers are discouraged, there will be fewer DaVinci Codes in the world.

I'm an optiminst.

"Two Girls"

Two girls, a he and a she, married along the far shores of the Shadow Sea. They were both very small, delicate in the wrists and ankles, light enough to fly. Frost kissed their eyelashes. They lay in the snow, dressed all in martyr's white.

We stoned then to death at dawn. The blood was very beautiful.

Anybody know a good feminist market looking for a dark little spec fic story?

This has bounced everywhere, always with a lot of hemming and hawing about yea, it's pretty good, sure, but too damn "didactic."

Damn me and my silly little political stories...

An Oldie But A Goodie: Some Things Are Worth Repeating

Posted this back on Jan 31st, 2005

Today Was the First Day I Considered a United States Without the Right to Legal Abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush told abortion foes on Monday he shared their support for "a culture of life" and claimed progress in passing legislation to protect the vulnerable.

"We need most of all to change hearts and that is what we're doing," Bush said as anti-abortion activists marked the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion with a day of rallies, protests and other activities.

I finally decided to start thinking about it. I've been fobbing it of and fobbing it off for a long time now. I didn't think he'd outlaw partial-birth abortion, either. I don't seriously think he can get away with overturning Roe.

But I considered what I would do if that happened.

I've discussed before the great fertility of the women in my family. My fertility has always been a big issue for me, and I've negotiated all of my sexual encounters knowing just how great my risk of pregnancy was. I've never slipped up. I've never had to get an abortion. I never engaged in unsafe sex - not once.

But that doesn't mean that there won't be a future "oops" pregnancy. And no, I wouldn't hesitate to get an abortion if I got pregnant, say, in the middle of law school.

And today I seriously considered it: what happens if Roe's overturned?

Well, I'd spend a day or two sobbing in my bedroom, probably, out of sheer anger and frustration. All that hard work trying to get the world to see me as a person and not the incubater of some guy's sperm - all that work trying to change people's ideas about what children really are: they are created of a woman's body, a woman's breath. Yes, a man contributes half the potential child's DNA, but at the end of the day, the stuff that goes into the creation of heart and lungs and fingers and toes comes out of my body, is nourished by what I eat, how well I sleep.

So what would happen if I got pregnant without wanting to, without choosing to?

Well, likely, I'd take a trip to Canada. I'm one of those lucky people who could afford to take off to Toronto for the weekend if I had to. I could afford to stay in a hotel, afford to pay for the procedure. In fact, Canada would likely have a nice little business providing reproductive health services to American women hopping over the border.

I would be OK. I'm intelligent, I'm well-off.

But Roe V. Wade is about a bigger issue than just the abortion part. It's not about protecting life or fetal rights or any of that bullshit (again, if this was about life, we'd be putting all that energy into childcare services).

Overturning Roe V. Wade, making abortion illegal, is about controlling women. Always has been. Always will be. You won't convince me otherwise, not with all of your arguments about sacred egg meeting sacred sperm: a couple of DNA strands slathered in proteins that have about as much self-awareness as a can of coke.

So when I hear Bush & co. make these broad statements about "life" about "championing life" what I'm actually hearing is an old rich white guy telling me who has control over my body - his sperm. His agency. I will be forced to labor against my will producing a child of my body for nine months. Anyone who has given birth, whose wife has given birth, will be the first to tell you why it's called "labor." Making babies doesn't come easy, doesn't come without cost.

And that cost is not my biological burden to bear against my will. It is not something to be forced upon me by men, by women, by the President of the United States.

So though I will travel to Canada, fly over the heads of poorer women who cannot afford the luxury and instead submit themselves to risky and dubious back-street procedures in their god-given, natural right to control their own fertility, I will come back to a country whose laws still view me as vessel, as no better than an empty jug in want of filling.

That is what the laws will say I am. That is what all this talk of life, and packing courts with judges, means to me.

It means I go back to being a dumb body, a thing, a sperm receptacle, a baby vessel, and NOTHING else.

And soon after I will begin reading even more "studies" about how I can't do SCIENCE because ovaries get in the way of learning, and SCIENCE is bad for babies. I will be told I cannot drive a car, because I don't have the spatial reasoning skills. And if you're not careful, if you're not careful, if you begin to view us as things instead of people, if we become a means to an end instead of an end, an asset, in and of oursevles, then you begin trading women for cattle. Men begin hiding us from view like their best possessions. Men begin encouraging us to go back to finding our strength and identities in men, no matter if that man is weaker, stupider, more spineless than we.

Movie heroines will easily slide back to telling their beaus, "You'll have to think for the both of us!" and they'll mean it.

These gains, these little steps that women have taken toward being considered "real" people, are not very old. There have certainly been other times and places where women were treated as people, but none in our recent cultural memory, the Judeo-Christian one that most of the US comes from, and given any excuse, given fear, we'll slide back very easily to equating women with possessions, because it seems so much simpler, so much easier, so logical, so reasoned.

Life. Yes. We're protecting life. We're protecting the 50s ideal that never existed, the one we all pretended was truth, and was nothing so much as a bald-faced lie that everyone told themselves they wanted to live, they should live.

I want a life where I'm treated like in intelligent, informed, responsible person. I want a life where people look at me and see not a vessel, not untapped fertility, but just a person, just this, me. Not my womb. Not my ovaries.

It is never "one" thing. It will not stop at the outlawing of abortion, just like he didn't stop with outlawing Dilation & Extraction. It will not stop.

It will not stop.

This is why this issue terrifies women. Until you have grown up knowing that old men like these have the ultimate control over your body and what you do with it, over your labor, over how you choose to spend your body's breath and blood, you won't know this terror, this uncertaintly, this screaming, terrified anger at the co-option of all that you are for use by the state.

The closest male equivalent I can think of is the draft: being forced to fight a war you did not vote for, for a cause you did not want, at a time in your life when all the world's possibilities are spread before you. And there is no honor in it. There is no medal. Because you will be told that your purpose in life is just this: to live or die for the state. That is your biological burden, and if you survive this war, you will be forced to take home with you a burden far greater than merely serving the state: you'll be given a child that is yours, whose future, whose mental and physical health, whose deeds, will be forever your responsibility.

And there is no conscientious objector clause. There's no medical leave. There's no reprieve if you're mentally ill.

If a man has sex with you, and you become pregnant, you're consigned to the will of that man and his laws.

Your life is no longer yours.

That's the battle women fight. That's why it's such a brutal battle, and that's why we get so violently passionate about the abortion debate. Because what we're talking about is the co-option of our bodies, our lives, for the state. We're talking about giving up our rights, our bodies, to the will of men and their wants and desires.

And we're fucking tired.

We're not going to be non-people again in the eyes of the law. We're not going to be second-class, second-best, by virtue of birth.

Never again.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How I'll Be Defined in the Dictionary

Kameron Hurley --



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

I Always Knew All This Blood Was Good For Something...

ATLANTA (Reuters Health) - Japanese researchers have harvested stem cells from human menstrual blood. These stem cells could potentially be a source of specialized heart cells, which might be used to treat failing or damaged hearts.

That's awesome.

(via Feministe)

The Life I Want Wasn't the One I Had

After a great deal of angst and second-guessing, I broke up with B last week.

This wasn't a sudden decision. A couple months ago, I filled out a bunch of paperwork for the Peace Corps. Months before that, we broke up or nearly broke up because I wanted to apply for a game-writing job up in Edmonton. The resulting emotional turmoil made me quickly take this idea off the table.

From the very beginning, we moved very, very fast. We lived in different cities. He wanted a real committment. We had to fly all the time. We needed to know if it was worth it.

And it was always moving way too fast for me. I had to make big decisions very quickly, because when I didn't, emotional turmoil resulted. Sobbing, awful, nights of gut-wrenching soul-baring. I scrambled to figure out how I felt very quickly. Too quickly. Whenever I said what I wanted, I got it, and then there were emotional conversations, backtracking, second-guessing. Any answers I got were couched in emotional language, this terrible stuff that made me want to take back everything I said.

There was jealousy over my friends - and worse - my writing. Sure, I could always "do whatever" I wanted, but the consequences of that meant listening to how horrible and awful whatever I did made B feel. And when you love someone, you sure as hell don't want to do anything to them that will harm them like that.

It got to the point where I was on edge all the time, waiting for the next terrible thing I would say or do that would set off a big emotional reaction. Of the year I spent in the relationship, I can only think of about 2-3 consecutive weeks where we were both actually happy, really happy, and I didn't overly-worry about the next emotional blow-out.

When K moved out of the house, I thought all of my stress and jumpiness and health issues would stop. Instead, they hung on. I stayed depressed. Trying to write was like rubbing blood from a stone. I developed a terrible, recurring case of heartburn and bought my first bottle of Maalox.

And it occurred to me that I really didn't want to be in a relationship. I didn't want to move to New York. I didn't want to committ the next five years - let alone the rest of my life - to anybody. Not just B, but anybody. Not now. Maybe not ever.

It's like you look out at this life you've got, the happy hetero relationship. I'd never have to worry about money. We'd get a picket fence. We'd continue to bash heads over our communication problems. The emotional way of dealing with all things would continue. I would always be waiting for the shoe to drop. Waiting for the next rash of jealousy. And there I'd be, parked in that relationship, continuing to work shitty admin jobs while trying to write. Trying and trying to write. But I can't write when everything's been sucked out of me, emotionally. The books are where I channel all of that energy. If I'm spending every night trying to reassure a partner that I love them, that the world won't explode, I don't have anything left for my writing. All I want to do is go to bed.

There's no reason 300 pages of line edits should have taken me three goddamn months. That's fucking ridiculous.

Why did it take so long?

Because I wrapped myself up in other things.

I rebelled against the relationship for a long time, but B was adament that we were perfect for each other, and I didn't want to fail at a relationship. Not after being on my own for so long. We just had to work harder. Once we moved in together, everything would be all right.

That became our mantra when everything was bad: Once we move in together, everything will be all right.

And if that's not a big warning sign for you, I don't know what is.

I tried to bash away at the committment end. Likely, trying to re-work our relationship at the last minute had something to do with that, something to do with me trying to make it work for me when inside, it felt so wrong. I didn't want to go to New York.

I hate New York.

But I desperately wanted things to work. I hadn't dated anyone in five or six years, and B is a great guy in so many ways, but ultimately, we clashed over too many core things for me to be able to stay. If I have nothing left over to write with, I can't be in the relationship.

That's how it is.

Everything felt wrong.

But even so, I spent the night I finally ended it sobbing in my room, those great, body-wracking, Greek-chorus sobs that come up from deep inside of you, the ultimate expression of grief; it felt and sounded like death, so loud the neighbors probably heard me. Jenn certainly heard me, and came in to offer some kind of comfort, but really, there was no comfort to be had. I was mourning the relationship, certainly, and how much hurt I felt I'd inflicted on everyone by making the break, but I was also mourning a life lost. A whole life path, an entire mapped-out existence, just gone, obliterated, because it felt so stifling. It felt so wrong. No matter how much I tried to fix it, to make it right in my head, it never was.

And I fought hard.

That night, I slept like death, slept soundly for the first time in nearly a week.

I woke up and opened my eyes and felt... freer.

I had carried so many worries. I waited so many days for the other shoe to drop, for the next emotional grief-session. I would spend my days rapidly replying to emails in case silences were mis-measured. I would no longer have to repeat myself over and over again or talk and talk and talk about how I felt all the time.

I could get up and read, work on my books, sleep, without worry, without fear.

And best of all - I didn't feel boxed into a path that had become increasingly claustraphobic.

I could go back to relying on myself, on what *I* wanted. I could apply for the job in Edmonton. I didn't have to twist myself in knots justifying New York. I could go back to standing on my own two feet.

Just me.

I will never understand the media hysteria about women longing for partners. Having a partner has never worked for me. I hurt everyone I'm with, and without them, I always feel so much freer. If I just go around hurting people, what's the point of being in relationships?

I don't think I'm going to date again, really date, for a long, long, time.

Maybe casual sex isn't overrated?

In any case, I'm going to go work on some tDW edits.

Come Pick Me Up

Song on repeat today:

Ryan Adams, "Come Pick Me Up."

When they call your name
Will you walk right up
With a smile on your face
Or will you cower in fear
In your favorite sweater

With an old love letter
I wish you would

I wish you would
Come pick me up
Take me out
Fuck me up
Steal my records
Screw all my friends
They’re all full of shit
With a smile on your face
And then do it again

I wish you would
When you’re walking downtown
Do you wish I was there
Do you wish it was me
With the windows clear and the mannequins eyes

Do they all look like mine
You know you could
I wish you would
Come pick me up
Take me out
Fuck me up
Steal my records
Screw all my friends behind my back
With a smile on your face
And then do it again

I wish you would
I wish you’d make up my bed
So I could make up my mind
Try it for sleeping instead
Maybe you’ll rest sometime
I wish I could

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Line edits for God's War are complete.


Now it's time to finish writing the damn thing. 100 pages to go.

Picking it Up

It's planting season. It was 66 degrees last night, and let me tell you - I'm ready for spring.

Spending the morning cleaning up the back porch area, getting the bins ready for planting basil and parsley, morning glories and peas.

Have about 90 pages of line edits left on God's War. Edits for The Dragon's Wall continue apace. Writing up a crit of a buddy's novel.

Reading a lot, looking forward to Wiscon.

Had a bunch of dreams about food. Thought that was odd because I've been doing my usual eating-when-hungry deal. Then I remembered I've been eating crap all week. I've been depressed, struggling with ending a relationship, and so ate take-out every night. Got back to eating better, and the food dreams abated.

Went out to a really good Italian place with Jenn last night, watched some movies. Bought 35 books from Ah, retail therapy. Will probably go hit Borders today, too.

Rambling, rambling. Had an omelette this morning. Finished reading a book about food obsession. I used to think that being a binge eater was something you just "were", like being an alcoholic, but I haven't binged in.. a long, long time. I'm starting to think it's something you work through and get over. My next goal is to learn how to deal with money. That'll be easier when I engage in less retail therapy.

My life, though, feels freer. The world opens up.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gee, I Sure Feel Like Shit

And then the whole world imploded!

Just like I didn't want to happen.

I deserve no less.

In Which Exhaustion Kicks In

Wow, I'm tired.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Clock is Ticking: I'm Up For A Campbell Award For Best New Writer

Sadly, I qualify this year for a Campbell award for Best New Writer for my short story, Genderbending at the Madhattered.

This is sad because

1) I haven't written a ton of stuff that would showcase my work because I'm bogged down in novels

2) I only have one year left of eligibility for the award

3) The nomination period ends March 10th, which is three days from now. Not much notice, eh?

Apparently, guidelines fore the award were relaxed, so SH stories now qualify.

Ah, well.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's my bibliography:

"Wonder Maul Doll." Forthcoming in the From the Trenches anthology, November 2006.

"Genderbending at the Madhattered." Strange Horizons, February 2004

"Holding Onto Ghosts." Talebones. Summer 2003

"Once, There Were Wolves." The Leading Edge. Spring 2003

"If Women Do Fall they Lie." Deep Outside. December 2000

Surprise! People With Low Expectations Tend to Be More Content With Their Lot In Life

Well, yea.

That's why you don't teach women to read. Or slaves. Or anybody else you want to control. They might realize there's something else out there. They might start thinking things could be really different.

Weight Hysteria

The regional VP stopped me in the conference room today and said, "Are we losing you? You've lost a lot of weight. Are you OK? You don't want to do anything dangerous."

It still bothers me when people do this.

"I'm just lifting weights in the morning," I said. "I don't really feel like I'm doing much."

"It's so strange how people losing weight just changes the, you know." He made a motion around his face, "You know, the whole way people look in their face and.." he gestured to my body, "Their body. It's just so strange."

"Uh, yea," I said, and I thought, Is this as close as he feels he can get to saying I look a lot hotter? Better be, cause if he goes there, I'm gonna snarl.

I'm startled a lot at the reactions to my weight loss, mainly because I don't really feel like I'm trying. I spent all day Sunday on the couch in my pajamas eating cookies and chips with that cheese salsa dip, reading and watching the snow. Five days a week, I do a 15-20 min morning weight routine. I walk a lot. But I haven't been to the gym in at least six weeks because of weather and personal issues. And I just went to Old Navy this weekend and bought size 12 pants because the 14s are falling off.

What a lot of people at work don't get, I guess, is that when I got to Chicago I was at an abnormally high weight for me. A 12/14 is where my body naturally sits. If I cascade below a 12, I'll get pretty scared, but for now, I'm really comfortable with where I'm at.

The problem with that comfort, however, is that I'm less likely to go to the gym because I'm not constantly thinking about weight. This is bad because being "thinner" doesn't neccessarily equal "being fitter." Weights or no, I'd like to go back to getting in a little jogging or bike riding everyday. If nothing else, it'll make our three flights of stairs easier. And you know, I still want to be really fucking buff, and no matter my pants size, that ain't going to happen if I spend all my time eating cookies on the couch. Though a day a week of that is probably good for me...

Anyway, I'm going to go and eat something. Every time somebody comments on how much weight I've lost, I get hungry.

I do feel that I have this psychological thing about weight: I feel more vulnerable without that extra layer of fat. I feel like more people are looking at me. There's this weird conflation with gaining weight and avoiding male attention, to my mind. Which is why I think that the only way for me to permanently stay at my natural size is if I feel strong enough to defend myself. When the VP eyed me over, I totally tensed up. I hate feeling like I'm on display.

I gotta get back into boxing. The urge to do so gets stronger with every size I drop.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Land of the Free!

south dakota


Didn't we break up MaBell because it was a monopoly?

So, wouldn't putting it all back together be rebuilding a monopoly? And, um, be illegal?

You know, like banning abortion?

Wait, sorry, for a moment there I thought I was living in another country! Like, say, America!

I'm moving to Canada. Brendan, how are grad schools in Toronto?

Here We Go!

Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation Monday banning nearly all abortions in South Dakota, setting up a court fight aimed at challenging the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless the procedure was necessary to save the woman's life. It would make no exception for cases of rape or incest.

Makes me pretty pissed at all those people who kept reassuring me, "You're being hysterical. They're never going to overturn Roe v. Wade. You feminists, getting all worked up about nothing." And then they all went and voted Republican, patting themselves on the back for being so smart.

Yea, right.

This is how it's done. I bet it's going to ZOOOOOOM into the Supreme Court. I can see them all licking their lips already.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Animals Remixed With Everyday Items

As someone who writes about a lot of bug-tech ideas, I thought these were neat.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Everywhere’s a small town if you do something that bothers enough people."

(via Jennifer)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Wiscon Shuffle

Nailed down the hotel reservations for me and my posse (me, my boyfriend Brendan, Jenn the Great, and my awesome Clarion buddy Patrick of Bioware employ). We're three blocks from the con hotel, so all together, we may be able to hold each other up while we drunkenly stumble back to the hotel after the parties.

Madison is a great town for a con. It's already full of drunk liberal college kids. The drunk SF geeks fit right in.

Oh, These Haiku-Like Passages!

Good money, tho.

Distillery to revive 184-proof whisky

Fucking sweet!!

"A Scottish distillery said Monday it was reviving a centuries-old recipe for whisky so strong that one 17th-century writer feared more than two spoonfuls could be lethal."

Today's Message From Corporate:

Dear Peon,

I know you were expecting your 1K bonus this year - which would have been far more than last year because business has doubled! - but we've decided to get rid of bonuses for our Scheming Corporate Reasons. We need to cut our budget because we have a major acquisition coming up, and screwing over the peons was the best way to do that.

And yes, you heard that right! We're only screwing the peons, of course. We really don't care that you're part of a 4-person team who's produced over 50 million dollars of work for this company over the last two years and is currently working in the Most Important Market for our telecommunications branch and the client we're working for.

The upper-execs and CEOs are laughing all the way to the bank. You didn't expect us to cut bonues for the Big Boys, did you? Even though "saving money for the company" would have been far easier if we cut just a handful of exec bonuses instead of culling all the measly under-5K bonuses we send out to all the peons?

What do you think this is, Fantasyland?

Go back to writing books.

All the best,

Corporate America