Sunday, April 30, 2006

According to, I'm getting paid about $10,000 a year less than the national average for the job position I hold.

Oh, gee, yay.

Why does this not surprise me?

Clawing Up From Depression, Or: Getting it All Together

Jenn and I lolled around in bed yesterday talking until nearly 2:30 in the afternoon - she's been busy running psych studies and analyzing data until 10pm, and I spend two days a week in Indianapolis, so we needed the catch-up time.

Today, I reorganized my room so it's more work-condusive - put a bunch of bins full of old novels and stories into K's old room, which we're using for storage (that's where my 30 years of National Geographics ended up). I love my new room set-up. I have the smallest room in the house, which meant that for nearly a year I've had a desk where I can't pull out the chair all the way because it kept hitting the bed.

Cleaned up my balcony garden today as well, putting all the lemon balm with the lemon balm and the basil with the basil. I'm proudest of my pot of morning glories, which look like they're boiling over the pot and getting ready to burst. I love gardening. It's incredibly relaxing watching little seeds grow up into these lush, vibrant garden that takes over the entire outdoor table.

I was walking up and down the stairs today, doing laundry (the washer and dryer are in the basement), and thinking about how much easier it was to get up the stairs, to think about doing this mundane task, and I realized again how depressed I'd been for so long, how stressed, and subsequently, how sick. After much thought, pain, irritation, and many PP visits, I've also finally decided to get my IUD removed.

I hate this idea, and put off the decision to remove it for nearly a year - but the infections and irritation aren't going away, and I only have about 7 days a month where I can have sex comfortably. When I only saw my partner once a month, I could work around this. I could justify all the pain and the stress from walking around in a constant state of discomfort. I just can't justify it anymore. I'm not looking forward to another painful, bloody visit, but once it's done, it's done. How I'll negotiate contraception in the future, I don't know, but for now, I'll take a normally functioning vagina that I don't want to claw out two weeks in every four. I can't do pain and itching anymore. It's not worth it. Jenn and I plan to part when she graduates and I get a job elsewhere next year (it's not likely we'll find good jobs in the same cities), so what I'll do after that, well, that's a time away yet.

For now, I'm just tired of hurting and bleeding all the time.

In the meantime, things are looking up. The IUD is out in 18 days, tDW is out to readers, and I'm contemplating what's going wrong in the last 40 pages of God's War that's keeping me from pushing through. As my buddy Patrick's pointed out, it's also time to start getting my application materials ready for Gaming Company, so I'm looking through short stories and getting back into video game playing (ah, research).

I'm also starting to make notes for Over Burning Cities, the next book in the fantasy saga, and going over several of the early chapters and cleaning them up.

My buddies Stephanie and Ian should be heading down here around the 4th of July, and Patrick and his family are coming down the week before Wiscon; it's going to be great to have people in the house. I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, Jenn and I are going to finish up another episode of Babylon 5, eat some macoroni, and then I'm packing things up for another couple work days in Indy...

Send Somebody to Clarion

When I got accepted to Clarion, I wrote letters to every single friend and relative I had and begged for money.

Yes. I did. I begged for money.

I do not regret it.

I got to Clarion, and had plenty of pocket money besides. Clarion is the SF/F workshop. You get about 2 years of writing experience in 6 weeks. You beg, borrow, and steal to get there. It can change your life. You meet amazing people, amazing writers.

And it'd be a shame to miss out on the experience for purely financial reasons.

Be a dear and help get somebody else there. All he needs is $20 from 125 people.

I put in $20.

I don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

This Is So My Internal Writing Mantra

I love writing fantasy epics. Really, I do.

(via Elizabeth Bear)

Let's Talk About Sex

After all, it's the theme of the latest Big Fat Carnival.

I take a perverse delight in watching all those reality plastic surgery shows where (mostly) women mutilate their bodies in the hopes of attaining beauty and "self confidence." These shows are set in places like Miami where "looking good naked" and having breasts that stand at attention without the aid of a bra are considered the holy grail of bodily perfection. Because we live in a Christian-based society where the outward appearance of the body is supposed to mirror our moral purity (EDIT: I have been schooled. This is not [duh] a Christian belief. It's actually very Greek. I think I was in Christian-rant mode after reading that ridiculous "frozen orange juice makes you a whore" post. My apologies to my Christian readers who, like me, have taken art history classes and know better. I would argue, however, that denying the body food is historically a Christian practice illustrating one's devotion and sacrifice to God, as documented in Holy Feast, Holy Fast.), it makes sense that so many people would seek perfection of body and soul at the edge of a knife.

Oh how I love these shows. One of the more popular surgeries, now that gastric bypass has become so popular, is the excising of loose skin. You get women who've been anywhere from 250 to 500 lbs going into surgery and getting great slabs of themselves removed. The doctor will hold up this massive peice of belly flesh and jiggle it in front of the camera, then lay it out on a tray so you can look it over. When you get a hunk of your midsection taken out, they have to re-sew you a new "cute" belly button. While he's at it, one Miami surgeon also likes to take out some of the vaginal "fat" just above the vagina because "so many women hate it."

You know, I've noticed a lot of fat on my body, but never have I paused to think about whether or not my vagina is too fat.

Losing weight also means losing breast tissue. I know this well. I was a full C for some time, and now I'm very near a B. This leaves your breasts a bit droopy - you know, like you might be, say 26 or 36 and not 15. To "fix" this "problem" many women also go in for breast lifts and implants at the same time they excise their "extra" skin.

They come out looking pretty damn good, depending on the surgeon. In a year or two, most of their scars are supposed to fade, and it'll be like they were never fat or droopy at all. They'll be perfect plastic people. This "fixing" of the body's "imperfections" is supposed to give them tons of self confidence and alter the way they walk into a room, the way they think of themselves, their SAT scores... Oh, sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's the secret that every fat girl should understand right now:

You're the same person at a size 2, 12, or 22. Losing the weight doesn't mean you automatically have more self confidence or a better swagger. These are things you have to work on every bit as hard as anything else in your life. Getting lipo or a breast lift doesn't make you any more interesting at cocktail parties, though we sure wish it would.

I ditched 20 lbs between 8th and 9th grade because my hormones were raging and I was tired of not having a boyfriend. Nobody looked at me. The guys who were interested in me were too terrified to be more than friends. That was their loss, not mine. But at the time, I didn't know that. I acted like a fat girl. I acted ashamed of the way I looked. I believed I wasn't attractive.

So that's the way the world looks at you.

Ditching 20 lbs, I thought, was what made more people look. However, it may just have been high school. Cause lots of people a lot heavier than me were getting laid too.

I was a little terrified about sex not so much because of the pain or the emotional crap (I'm not terribly emotional on the surface) but because I'd grown up believing I was too fat to be attractive. I watched tv. I knew what "beautiful" women looked like. I believed that wasn't me, and because that wasn't me, I had no value.

This was probably when I first started becoming a little obsessed about weight. Me, my brother and my sister had always had weight "problems." Several asshat relatives pointed out these "weight problems" to us and our parents all the time. One Aunt and Uncle went so far, I believe, to say that raising us the way my parents had was tantamout to child abuse, and they would *never* raise *their* children that way.

I started getting weird about food. I'd eat once or twice a day that first year of highschool, and not very much. It was typical highschool fare - a slimfast for breakfast, nothing for lunch, a cheeseburger or nachos for dinner while we worked at the theater. Sometimes dinner went out all together and I ate lunch instead. I never really stopped eating - I've tried being anorexic, and it just never worked for me.

It did, however, work for my sister. She stopped eating, blacked out in someone's kitchen one time, and dropped 100 lbs. She put most of it back on when she got pregnant, lost a little after she had the baby, and has been fighting with her weight every day since. She was so happy to get male attention when she dropped weight that she went a little crazy, and some crazy things occured.

Hence, I have a nephew.

heh heh

Which is the other big problem when you raise somebody in a society that tells them they have no worth until they lose weight - when they lose the weight, they believe all the hype, and start looking for their self worth and validation in the penis (or, in the case of one guy I know - the pussy). Dropping weight and increasing one's pool of sexual partners in a rather irresponsible way can often coincide. The problem is, you use the sexual partners to bolster your sense of worth, and that never works.

You've got to get that somewhere else.

That's why I spent five years single.

My brother lost weight about the same time - moving into highschool. He dropped 30 lbs just switching from Pepsi to Diet Pepsi. He dropped another 20 or so by running 3-6 miles every day. He continues running 3-6 miles every day, and is now quite lean. Growing into his 6'0 height helped a lot, too.

We were fat kids.

All three of us. The last time I was at my current weight, I told myself that I would be happy as soon as I lost 20 more pounds. I just had to lose that last 20 pounds.

This is a great way to make sure you're never happy with your body.

My weight obsessions meant my weight has spiked to as high as nearly 270 lbs when I was 18 (depression, bad relationship, being on the pill). Spiked again in South Africa at 230-240 (binge eating, stress). And it comes back down to my set point of 175-180 when I stop obsessing about food (like now).

And still, I have to work a little to stay here. I have to maintain my weight routine, eat enough protein, and pay attention.

Cause I'm a fat girl. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. I can beat the crap out of a punching bag a lot better than Paris Hilton can.

So, what happens when you rocket up and down this weight rollercoaster for most of your life?

The same thing that happens to those gastric bypass patients -

You carry your history on your body.

Loose skin, stretch marks. If you get it together when you're young, you may be able to tighten some of this up by weight lifting, but the stretch marks don't go away. Believe me. Rub whatever you want on them. You carry them around. They look like they hurt. They're physical scars. When you lean over, the skin bunches and sags, and everything droops.

My sister, after she'd lost her 100 lbs said, "I feel like I've ruined my body."

My brother has watched my father have a heartattack because of his lack of exercise and bad eating habits. That's not the life my brother wants. It gives him a lot of energy to run those 6 miles every day.

I'm not too keen on dying young either, or falling and breaking my hip, which is what my maternal grandmother did several years ago. Hence my obsession with weight lifting. It's one of the best ways to build and preserve bone mass.

The asthetics are a nice bonus.

But losing weight doesn't mean that I look like Paris Hilton. I won't be putting out a sex tape.

But I don't avoid sex either.

High weight, I realized, didn't mean I had less of a sex drive. Sure, I felt worse about myself - but a lot of that was media talking. The same people who were attracted to me at a 12 were attracted to me at a 22. The only one who had a problem with the weight was me.

I'm still considered a fat girl by current standards, and a rather ruined fat girl at that. I have a lot of body history. I've got lots of odd bumps and scars. My flesh is not smooth and unblemished. Everything I've been through, you can see it on my body.

And when I look at those surgery shows, I wonder if that's what's really going on: we're trying to escape our history, who we are, what we've been through, as if erasing that from our bodies will make us as smooth and unblemished as our skin.

We can pretend the times we believed were "bad" never happened. We can pretend we were somebody else. We can believe that no one loved us until we excised our history from our bodies.

It's such a wonderful fantasy.

It's wonderful because it gives us the illusion of starting over. It gives us the illusion of youth and confidence without going through the personal journey that most of us need in order to achieve that. It doesn't make us smarter or teach us new skills. You get the Christian-martyr pain out of it, and the fake baptizmal rebirth; rebirth through pain.

But you don't learn how to kickbox. You don't learn French. You don't become an expert pianist.

Maybe getting this "new" body will inspire you to be better. Maybe so. And if so, that's great.

But what inspires me to be better is looking at all that history, knowing where I've come from, seeing how far I've gone and how much further I have to go.

Because I have other scars, too. I have scars on my fingers from sword fighting in high school theater. I have a scar from when my cousin threw glass at me when I was eight. I have scars from when I tried to throw my cat into my wading pool. I've still got that goddamn scar from the first time I tried to shave my legs.

And I don't find those scars any more or less attractive than my stretch marks, my slightly droopy breasts, the extra skin I can pull away from my arms.

For all my imperfections, I haven't lacked for partners. The trick is, I only wanted the partners when I felt confident in myself.

I don't believe that excising my history would make me any more confident. Perhaps it would strip something away, but all of the stripping away would be external.

If you want to start over, start again, that starts from somewhere else, somewhere deep - a place you can't reach with a knife.

How To Be A Good Christian Wife

Ooooodles of entertainment. The comments are awesome

tDW Final Counts:

I'll do some more trimming for the final version, I'm sure, but I was doing counts last night, and here's where it stands:

Initial version completed May 2003: 202,183 words

Next version completed 2004: 183,000 words

Version that went out to agents: 141,465 words

Current version: 118,872 words

120K is a decent count for an epic fantasy. 140K was pushing it.

I do, however, love the idea that I basically cut 60K from the first version: I took out the equivalent of an entire book.

Revision fascinates me.

Genderfuck Ad

Kinda cute, mostly work safe.

(via boingboing)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wow, the IRS Cashes Checks Faster Than My Bank Does

And yet, this doesn't surprise me.

In any case, finally sat down and opened up a savings account. Also paid my bills today: $400 in credit card payments and $300 in student loans.

And I wonder where the money's going?

I'll be putting aside $50 per paycheck to start, which is $100 a month, which isn't huge, but hey, gotta start somewhere.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


tDW is now out to my second round of readers.

I shall go collapse now.


God's War.

And, likely, some more outlining for Over Burning Cities, fantasy saga book 2, which is already in progress.

The New Pink Album

Buy it. Now.

It's good.

Trust me.

"Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)"

Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
I love you so
Much more when you're not here
Watchin all the bad shows
Drinking all of my beer

I don't believe Adam and Eve
Spent every goddamn day together
If you give me some room there will be room enough for two

Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
I'm tired
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely tonight

I don't wanna wake up with another
But I don't wanna always wake up with you either
No you can't hop into my shower
All I ask for is one ***kin' hour
You taste so sweet
But I can't eat the same thing every day
Cuttin off the phone
Leave me the ***k alone
Tomorrow I'll be beggin' you to come home

Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
I'm tired
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely tonight

Go away
Come back
Go away
Come back
Why can't I just have it both ways
Go away
Come back
Go away
Come back
I wish you knew the difference
Go away
Come back

Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you

Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
I'm tired
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely tonight

Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
I'm tired
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely tonight

Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
I'm tired
Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Leave me alone I'm lonely
Alone I'm lonely
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you

Getting My Money Together

I have $25 left in my account.

I do this every month.

I've been reading a book about mistakes women make about money (yea, yea, but honestly, read up on it. I do believe women have been trained to view money differently than a lot of men, if only in the way so many women are taught that either men automatically know more about money than they do or that they should just sit around and wait for a guy to take care of them. Not many guys do that), and I found myself perusing the magazine stacks at the airport yesterday looking for more magazines about weight training and nutrition. About halfway through my survey, I realized just how much time and money I've put into figuring out how to eat right and exercise.

And how little time I've put into figuring out how to

1) save money

2) make my money grow (that means investing, etc)

Now that I've got my nutrition and health stuff together, I figure it's time to switch gears and put all that energy I was using for the pursuit of a balanced diet and healthy attitude toward exercise and focus it into money matters. So it's time to read up about money, investing, get my fucking savings account fucking opened this week and set up the paperwork to get money automatically deducted into it, and then to start deciding how I'll invest bits of that once I have loose bits to invest.

Sure, I have a company 401(K) that I put 3% of my income into every month automatically, but that's chump change. I don't want to be one of those writers who has to beg people for money when she gets sick. I want to be financially independent.

I want to be able to take care of myself.

And money is a big part of that.

Surviving Indy

The goal is to leave the office no later than 6pm

Headed to the gym, took a nice long walk to dinner at a mediocre-to-bad cafe of the Bennigan's type called Max & Erma's. Stopped by the grocery store on the way back to buy lunch for today, lots of bottled water, and some rice pudding.

Watched some tv and sank into the best sleep I've had thus far in Indy. Which isn't to say it was great, but I actually *slept,* drug-free.

Have our Tuesday morning meeting at our client's office. Oh, yay. Can you just feel the excitement oozing off the page?

Line edits for tDW are all in. Just need to go through the notes I made, then it's off to readers.


Sunday, April 23, 2006


Line edits for tDW are done.

Not a lot of major stuff: clipped and combined one more set of chapters for pacing reasons and reshuffled the order of a chapter for continuity/readability. Most of the edits were of the "defensive defense stance" variety.

I just need to input these when I'm in Indy this week, add a couple of things from the notes I made as I went through it, and lob it off to reader's by week's end.

No problem.

Then... on to God's War!

Most excellent.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Writers" Who Are Just Plain Stupid

If you try and sell a Star Wars fanfic novel, you're doing so in violation of copyright law and George Lucas is going to have your ass for lunch.

Fucking idiot.

(via Nick)

Let's Get Back to the Golden Age Where Women Were Lobotomized By Their Husbands and Men Actually Got Laid

Who invents these women? Do they not read history books?

I'm remembering an anecdote Joanna Russ relayed in which one of her female students said, "I wish things could go back to the way they were in the 50s. Our roles and choices were so much easier."

Russ wanted to take her by the shoulders and say something like, "You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You want to go back to the 50s where you had no voice, no autonomy? When you were a private slave owned by your husband?"

Uber easy.

That's one of the false beliefs about the "Golden Age" where women all knew their place and men were happy with their robot wives hopped up on valium (one of the other great myths is that all men were really happy with this set up, too, being married to mute women and having all of the financial and emotional responsibility of the house placed squarely on their shoulders. Yea, right. Partnerships can be oh so much hotter). Many people are deathly afraid of choices. The idea that "all you have to do" is get married, have kids, and get dinner on the table sounds great and "easy" until you do it. When your only creative outlet is vacuuming the house every morning, you're probably going to go a little spastic.

Are things tougher now? Maybe so. But you also have the ability to be financially independent, the choice to marry or not, date a woman or not, travel or not, have children or not, without the intense social stigma that existed in the 50s. Sure, you're still encouraged to marry and have kids and become some sort of superhero, but if you don't vacuum, don't have kids, and don't marry a man, it's not like you're ostracized from the village (well, most villages) and sent to live by the sea where you become the local witch.

Choices can save you.

Putting out for your husband when you don't want to or don't feel like it, however, isn't doing either of you any good. Sacrificing yourself for your kids doesn't do you or them any good, either. Call me crazy, but I think emotionally, physically, sexually, intellectually fulfilled people make way better parents than stifled, angry, repressed ones.

Fulfilled people make better worlds, overall.

Something tells me that encouraging your husband to rape you isn't the best way to go about making a better world.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And, Just to Top That Off

One of the guys in the office just asked me in the breakroom:

1) "How much weight have you lost?"


2) "How did you do it?"

I replied:

1) "I have no idea"


2) "I lift weights and eat a lot."

Yea. It's getting to be a tougher and tougher question to answer. I don't know. I just stopped fighting myself and my appetite one day, and decided I wanted to be strong enough to knock the shit out of somebody.

The rest sort of fell into place.

I Continue To Shrink

I have a confession to make:

I eat a lot.

I eat more now than I can remember eating in the past. Or maybe I did eat more in the past, but I ate it in three daily gorge-fests.

In any case, despite or because of the fact that I eat so much, I'm still shrinking. My size 12s are fitting better and better, and it's become nearly impossible to wear the 14s, even just for kicks (I like loose jeans, and they look good loose, but they fall off when I walk). I've been a little jumpy about the idea of ever being a size 10. I can't imagine it. I was a size 12 in the sixth grade.

Some of my fear of all this shrinking has goaded me into eating a little less healthy than I'd like. I prefer eating well because I feel better after doing it - whether this is physiological or just me not feeling guilty, I don't know, but I've been lax about the eating. Being on the road two days a week means I've been lax as well.

I had a bowl of chili and two grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner last night. A couple hours later, I had some ice cream. Breakfast was a bagel with cream cheese, 4 slices of bacon, oatmeal with fruit. Lunch was a chicken patty, chips, and tomato soup. I had two bagels, two drinkable yogurts, and some grapes for snacks throughout the day.

I seem to be incapable of living on less than 2800 calories a day without feeling deprived.

I've thrown out everything the dieting industry ever taught me about dieting, and suddenly I'm well on my way to being a "normal" size (oh yes, according to the stupid BMI chart, I'm still overweight. They can kiss my fat ass).

Still, I'm not sure that two grilled cheese sandwiches are the best way to go. Ideally, I'd like to add more green vegetables and more protein to my diet. I have another motive for adding protein - I'd really like to up the amount of weight I lift in the morning instead of adding more reps. More reps means I'll need to get up earlier, and that's just not happening. I think 5:30am is early enough.

I'm also concerned about my endurance, which is why I'd like to go back to a couple days a week at the gym beyond the yoga class. I want to get in a half hour of cardio and some more weights. I'm getting a little winded going up the three flights of stairs to our apartment, which shouldn't be happening.

It's springtime now as well, so I'd like to get my bike fixed up and spend some more time bike riding. Ideally, I'd have a bike that could make the 10 miles to work and the 10 miles back.

Dude, if I could commute to work that way even twice a week, I'd be totally buff.

I'd also like to expand some of my interests. I found a place that does bellydancing lessons for $8 a lesson. Trouble is, it's Tuesday nights, when I'm in Indy. I want to work out some sort of different schedule with Sarah about Indy. I'm spending too much time there.

Busy busy. Just the way I like it.

And at some point, I'll need to go clothes shopping again. Almost all my shirts are too big now. I look like I'm swimming.

Women Get Raped Because They're Stupid, Not Because Men Rape Them

Oh dear lord: Ladies, You Should Know Better: How feminism wages war on common sense.

I've been meaning to write a post about rape for some time, because it's all over the feminist blogs. When preppy white boys are accused of crimes that far too many people think are only committed by "sociopaths" or blond girls go missing in Aruba, the media has a field day. There have been some pretty shitty rape cases in the media lately (why now as opposed to, say, every day as it happens, well, anyway) - Duke being one, the woman who was videotaped being gang raped and had obscenities scrawled on her being the other.

And now we have a great opinion peice of the usual "blame the victim" sort.

Apparently, feminists "rarely discuss what to do to reduce the likelihood of a rape. Short of re-educating men, that is."

Because re-educating men so they know that rape isn't OK would be a bad idea?

WTF? What planet is this woman from?

"But just as sociopaths exist on the Lower East Side, they exist on college campuses."

Rape - particularly gang rape and even more so gang rapes done by members of sports teams - are socially constructed events. They exist to "bond" team members together, to assert power and masculitity. It's not about overpowering erections that overwhelm a man into thinking that forcing himself into someone else's body is cool. That's why you see so many men substitute things other than penises to force into women's bodies, particularly during gang rapes - they can't get it up. They aren't terribly turned on by it, or they don't cum, and they risk looking like "pussies" in front of their "friends."

But teaching men that rape isn't OK surely isn't the answer. The answer is teaching women that - unlike men - they aren't allowed to get drunk at parties, or go out drinking alone. They aren't allowed to go out after dark and go jogging - if they do, they're asking for it! They're being stupid. Going to big college parties is part of the college experience, but women shouldn't go, and shouldn't drink. They shouldn't hang out with men at all.

Might as well slap on a veil and start enacting a curfew for women, cause all those women wandering around at night are just too much a temptation. The fact that you're born a woman means you deserve whatever power-hungry act is committed against you.

Fuck that. Fuck you.

The best way to change this fucking behavior isn't to hunker down under your sofa and hide. The best way to change it is to get the fuck out there and assert yourself. Fight back. Be bold. If you hide away, you've already accepted the fact that you're a born victim cause you've got a vagina.

Take precautions? Sure. Stop going to parties because all the men are going to rape you?

No fucking way.

Teach men not to rape women. Fight back if they do. Stand up and make the charges. Know where your boundaries are. Make sure the men know it, too.

Raise your sons not to be rapists.

Raise them to be decent human beings. Raise them to heroes.

And raise your daughters to fight back.

In a survey conducted two years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health, one in every 20 women reported having been raped in college during the previous seven months. Rape statistics are notoriously unreliable, but the kicker rings true: "Nearly three-quarters of those rapes happened when the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse." And those are just the ones who admitted it.

And the reaction of a man to an overly-intoxicated woman?

Rape her!!!!


Here's an idea: how about we teach young men not to rape women? And yes, that includes women who are passed out.

Gee, that's an idea.

I got drunker than shit in college - usually with groups composed almost exclusively of men.

I once stumbled back through the snow to my dorm at 2am while hopped up on enough tequila and orange juice that I don't remember key incidents of the night - like when I barged into my neighbor's room and apparently started undressing and fell into her roommate's empty bed. She managed to usher me to the RA, who helped me retreive the keys I'd locked in *someone else's* room, and got me into bed where I promptly passed out and spent my entire Thanksgiving hung over to all shit.

I developed a taste for 7&7. More of the alcoholic 7 than the other one. I learned to mix drinks that tasted like jet fuel. I once happened to end the night with a guy who suggested we have sex. I said no. He suggested we make out for awhile. A couple drinks later, that sounded OK, so we did. When he suggested we start taking off clothes, I left. He never pushed, and apologized the next day because he felt he'd pushed too much by asking if we could make out.

I went to a packed house party and downed vodka straight and some guy grabbed my ass. I hit him.

I went to a cabin in the woods with a bunch of guys, drank 8 beers and 5 vodka and cranberry juices and projectile vomited over the porch and made out with one of the guys. When he suggested sex, I laughed at him and said I only had sex with people I loved. We stayed up all night smoking and talking about lost loves.

I was very fortunate in my college days to hang out with good guys who - even when just as rip-roaring drunk as I was - backed off when I clearly said no. Yes! It's true! Men can have common sense and decency! Drinking and making out were fun, but I drew my lines very clearly, and they respected that.

It also helped that I was in one-on-one situations, and I'm very clear about my "no"s. Groups of guys - again, particularly those involved in sports - are going to be more likely to bully. As a member of the group who suggests you back off, who says "maybe this isn't right" might get you branded as some kind of "fag" (oh, for the day when that's not a *bad* thing!), but it will also mean standing up for human decency. Not enough boys and men speak up in those situations. Too many go along with the group, too terrified, too cowardly, to say no.

I had two guy buddies who - throughout high school - had a "rule" that no matter how drunk they or the women they were with got at parties, they wouldn't go past the making-out stage. No sex. This meant one of my guy buddies had made out with so many women by the time he was 22 that I felt terribly intimidated by his count, even if he was still a virgin (that ended soon after - non-drunkenly [so far as I know] for him), when the Love of His Life jumped on him.

There are good men in the world. There are men who know what the boundaries are. They know right from wrong.

So for somebody to tell me that the "problem" with rape is that women are just stupid is offensive to both women who enjoy going out and getting drunk and the men who strive to be good, decent human beings by respecting sexual boundaries.

There's lots of fun to be had between men and women (and etc), and it's the fuckers who aren't taught where the lines are or who are too cowardly to decide on their own who are the problem - you can't blame a woman for her brutal rape and/or death at the hands of a bunch of gang-rapists because she chose to go jogging at night. That would be insane. That's saying we live in a society where men aren't responsible for the crimes they commit because they can't "control" themselves. We're going back to the old "Crimes of passion" defense.

Give me a fucking break.

The radical-feminist message was of course wrongheaded--most men are harmless, even those who play lacrosse--but it could be useful as a worst-case scenario for young women today. There is an alternative, but to paraphrase Miss Manners: People who need to be told to use their common sense probably didn't have much to begin with.

To sum up: Woman, you were raped because you're stupid.

Not because the men who raped you are assholes.

Who writes this fucking drivel?

I want to see an article that tells men to "use common sense" when deciding whether or not to have sex with a woman. You know, common sense like:

1) if a woman is passed out, don't rape her
2) if a woman says no, don't rape her
3) if a woman only says yes after you hit her a bunch of times, you're still raping her.


Work Woes

Well, Yellow's last day is Friday. I'm going to miss that dorky motorcycle riding guy.

Yellow's resignation is the latest in a long string of rats fleeing from a burning cane field: the head of our entire branch of the org, Mr. Dollar, resigned two months ago. My dearest boss ever (who once brought *me* coffee - which was probably the sexiest thing a man has ever done for me), Blaine, resigned last month to spend his time at his lake house (he deserved it), and Mr. Dollar's second just resigned two weeks ago.

When all the rats start jumping, you know it's time to go. The only bright spot is that my new boss is Sarah, our construction manager, who is getting a much deserved raise to Project Manager. So at least I know I won't be working for a fucktard. Sarah is awesome.

Unfortunately, as usual, no one has responded to the frantic resumes I've lobbed out into the world, not even the temp agencies. When Yellow came in and said Friday was his last day, I moaned, "How come I'm the only one who can't find a job!?"

I need to get serious about it. The actual "job" finding isn't the hardest part - the hardest part is finding something in my salary range. I've gotta make at least 40K if I'm ever going to dig myself out of the last of my debt and put money into savings.

And, um, buy books.

And some fish.

Ah, you see my problems.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Blessing: I'm Bored At Work

List ten favorite novelists:

1) Mary Renault
2) Angela Carter
3) Joanna Russ
4) Ernest Hemingway
5) Rupert Thomson
6) Honore De Balzac
7) Isabel Allende
8) Jacqueline Carey (I forgive her for Banewrecker)
9) Gene Wolfe
10) George R.R. Martin

List ten favorite nonfiction authors:

1) Jared Diamond
2) Barbara Ehrenreich
3) Naomi Wolfe
4) Elaine Scarry
5) Thomas W. Laqueur
6) Joseph Campbell
7) Louise White
8) Antjie Krog
9) Cynthia Enloe
10) Michel Foucault

List ten favorite poets:

1) Sharon Olds
2) Charles Simic
3) Emily Dickenson
4) Robert Frost

Gee, I really need to read more poetry.

List ten favorite movies (I could watch all these movies 20 times in a row - and in some cases, I have):

1) Titanic
2) Romancing the Stone
3) The Matrix
4) The Fifth Element
5) The Princess Bride
6) Aliens
7) Terminator 2
8) The Pillow Book
9) Bend it Like Beckham
10) 40 Year Old Virgin

List ten favorite musical artists/groups:

1) James Horner
2) David Bowie
3) Tom Petty
4) Everclear
5) The White Stripes
6) Loreena McKennit
7) James Blunt
8) Nivana
9) Enya
10) The Dixie Chicks

List ten favorite magazines (these are all I read):

1) Oprah
2) Hers
3) Oxygen
4) Bitch
5) National Geographic
6) Scientific American
7) Discover
8) Locus

List ten favorite TV shows:

1) Buffy
2) Carnivale
3) My So-Called Life
4) Absolutely Fabulous
5) "V"
6) Dark Shadows (the 1990s version)

As you can see, I believe most television shows are crap, and haven't been addicted to very many.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Progress, Finances, etc.

1/3 of line edits done for tDW.

Also, my credit card debt - including buying my emergency computer and the balance left on the old computer - is down to $5700.

If I can get that under 1K someday, that would be oh so sweet.

And does anyone remember the day when the government actually gave them back money? I don't know if that'll ever happen for me again, unless I get uber-rich. Thank god for writing contract jobs, eh? Half for taxes, half for Wiscon.

The universe is forgiving.

Next month, I open a savings account. For real this time.

I'm serious.

And I'm having money automatically transferred to it from my pay check. I've got my binge eating under control. Now it's time for finances.

I will figure this out, dammit.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Crappy Sentence of the Day:

"He moved smoothly into a defensive defense stance."

This is why I do line edits.

Yoga: Get Thee Into A Pretzel Shape

Had my first yoga class last night in a couple weeks - I've had to work late at the day job, so I've missed it.

An hour and a half of yoga is a lot of yoga, and for some reason, the last half of the class was enormously frustrating. I couldn't get my leg up off the floor and balance on one hand and the other leg. I couldn't bring myself up off the floor while twisting my torso so my knees rested on my elbows and I could support my weight with my hands.

And for some reason, I found it hugely frustrating that I couldn't do this.

I mean, after my third session of yoga, I should be a yogic master, right?


It's like picking up a pen and after writing three short stories expecting that I should be able to write the Great American Novel. I had this same issue with my first three months of boxing. I grew up more or less sedentary, and it was only when I was 19 that I really started to pursue anything like regular physical fitness. So it's absurd to get frustrated. I know this.

But it still happens.

Deep breath. I did a lot of deep breathing. I can't be superwoman right out the gate with everything I try, and just because I'm not, it doesn't mean I should quit. It just means I need to work harder.

That's something that's struck me all along the whole "I want to be stronger" route: I realize that there are people who've been active and sporty their whole lives. I'm not going to roll into class and be as good as these people without any effort. I'm going to have to work a hell of a lot harder. Think of how much I'd resent some soccer player who stomped into a writers' class I was in and expected to be just as good as everybody who'd been writing for ten years.

I'd likely laugh.

The pursuit of a strong body is something I have to pursue with the same mindset I've used to be better at everything else in my life.

I didn't ever think I could lift 30 lb free weights. I started with 5 lbers. If I started with 30 lbs, I would have quit. It would have seemed impossible.

It's not impossible, though.

Just really hard.

And often frustrating.

Friday, April 14, 2006

In Which the Protagonist Takes the Road Less Traveled

So, after breaking it off with our respective emotionally exhausting exes, Jenn and I spent some time engaged in conversations that went something like, "If only I could date someone who wasn't emotionally retarded!" and "If only someone was interested in me who understood my need to write!" and "If only I could date someone I could really relax around and feel safe with!" and "If only I could date someone who understood me!"

And so on and so on and so on.

And you know, at some point, we looked at each other and were like, "Well, duh."

So, after much disucussion, we decided to date *each other*.

Like, yes, for real.

I - identifying as "mostly straight" - was the real variable here, but to my non-surprise, the relationship has worked out on all fronts for some time now.

Now *there's* a Clarion bedroom pairing none of my classmates bet on.

We've started the relationship knowing it'll end when and if I move to Edmonton or when and if she gets her job - wherever it may be (I'd really like to try and join the Peace Corps if Edmonton turns me down). It's the first time I've started a relationship with someone that wasn't built on the stifling, "WE MUST LIVE TOGETHER FOREVER AND FALL ON OUR SWORDS IF THINGS DON'T WORK OUT," thing.

So it's really nice. It's the first time I've been in a relationship where I don't feel like I'm suffocating all the time and/or fighting for my independence and the right to change my mind.

Jenn and I have liked each other for some time. By the time I was ready to broach the subject, she was dating K, and when she broke up with K, I was still with B.

Timing was always really off, and there's the friendship side to consider. I don't exactly have a great track record with my exes.

Anyway, here's a short Q&A for longtime readers:

Q: So, Kameron, have you "turned gay"?
A: No. I've always been "mostly" straight. That "mostly" gives me some wiggle room. It just so happens Jenn is one of those few women I'm attracted to. I still don't consider myself a lesbian feminist boxer. heh heh

Q: Do you now Identify as bisexual?
A: No, though it's hypocritical not to when you're lying in bed with a woman. It's just a weird category for me. It doesn't fit right. Jenn calls me bisexual, because yes, it's really stupid to be in bed with a girl and talk about how "straight" you are. Really stupid. Give me some slack, people.

Q: How long have you been hot on Jenn?
A: About two years, but I didn't want to screw up the friendship.

And so on and so on and so on.

In any case, I'm very happy, and rumor has it, Jenn is very happy too. Happier than we've been in a long, long, time I think.

It's nice.

I'm also getting a lot of writing done, which is also nice. I was uncertain as to whether I could both write *and* have a relationship, and it appears they are not mutually exclusive things.

I've just dated spastic people.

And Jenn, of course, is not spastic.

Which is nice.

Now we just need to get some cats. Or is it lesbians and dogs?

In any case, I have an interesting life.

Power Feminism & the Venom Cock

No, I just don't know when to leave well enough alone.

Like some others, I snickered over the Venom Cock hullabaloo and got ready to forget about it - until I read this article by Liz Henry that declared Janine Cross's book, Touched by Venom to be on par with feminist SF work like Emshwiller's Carmen Dog and Ryman's Air.

Being someone who likes to keep abreast of feminist fiction, I decided to take one for the team and read Venom Cock for myself.

Henry should have called it the most feminist work to hit the shelves since Ann Bishop's child-rape fetish fantasy Black Jewels trilogy.

There seems to be this belief that if a book like, say, Black Jewels or Venom Cock makes people uncomfortable, it must be a great work of literature.

Henry, after describing the violence and squalor of Venom Cock's main character, Zarq's, upbringing says:

As a dystopia this is already disturbing enough, but it seemed even more so when I realized how close it comes to what women in the world experience today. I came to realize, while reading the book, that my initial reaction of shock and disbelief was the result of my own happily ignorant privilege.

You know, the Marquis de Sade's work isn't cozy either, but I wouldn't call any of it a Great Work of Feminist Fiction.

I mean, I have no problem with obscenity in fiction. I've read American Pyscho. Violence is a tool in fiction, a way to drive your plot, to show something about your characters and your world, and good writers know how to use it to maximum effect.

The justification for the long, unending horror and violence of Cross's book appears to be that it's OK because, it "happens in real life."

Gee, where have I heard that before? Just because it really happened to you or somebody you know doesn't make it any more palatable or believable or even readable.

And you know what's even worse in this case?

I don't believe people live like this.

I don't believe people live without friendship, without laughter, without any joy in their lives. Women who've had cliterodectimies do, in fact, still have a sense of humor and take joy (or not) in their children (maybe they take joy in flowers instead. Or making pottery. Or whatever). Even slaves dance. Abused women have been known to sing. If your protagonist has absolutely nothing to live for, no love, no hope, no belief, why don't they pack it in? And why would I want to read about them? They aren't real people - they're half-people.

About the time the main character tried to drug one of her fellow priestesses so she could addict her to venom and rape her, I'd lost all sympathy for the character. These are not likable people, and not interesting. So why should I read about them?

Because as much as it's oh-so-important to be alerted to the plight of abused women in restictive patriarchical cultures (and I'm not so certain writing this book is a great way to go about that. Read Louise Marley's The Terrorists of Irustan instead. It has real people in it who actually feel things), there's this thing in fiction where you need to be writing about somebody I give a shit about. And frankly, I kept wanting this girl to just die. She was a coward, had no ambition, tried to drug some chick so she could rape her, threatened people to get her way, was pretty indifferent to her sister's fate.

The real tragedy of this book, however, isn't even the "and then things got worse" litany that strings the random, violet events of the book together.

The tragedy is that yes, Cross can write. She can string good sentenes together. Her worldbuilding is great, her sense of place evocative, and even if her characters are all totally unlikable (the one sorta likable one with any ambition is too sexy, and so sold off into sexual slavery - that'll teach those women to be too sexy), they are certainly characters.

So watching the shit-storm that was this book was doubly painful - here was this great worldbuilding being put to use to illustrate just how much it Sucks to Be a Woman.

As if I didn't know that.

Trying to compare this book to anything written by Mary Renault, however, is an insult to Renault. Renault has things like plot. And characters with actual lives that includ aforementioned other half of human life: dancing, singing, games, smiling, laughing, friendship, real love. Renault has plot. Renault has story.

This book had none of that. Having none of that, it didn't have human beings in it.

It had a bunch of violence and dragonfucking, because somebody said, "Write something like the Kushiel books," and violence and dragonfucking is all that anybody can think up. They don't keep in mind that the Kushiel books have something called PLOT. And LIKEABLE CHARACTERS.

But Henry says:

Cross has done something still too rare in fantasy and SF, despite these precedents—she's dealt with very hard-hitting, difficult issues, distancing them from real-world cultures and pushing them to extremes, forcing us to think.

Because fantasy that doesn't jam in your face how much it sucks to be a woman doesn't make you think. The only real, hard-hitting fantasy out there is shit like this that pounds you over the head with one brutal event after another that has no point except to be brutal. I don't think dragonfucking is exactly a hard-hitting or difficult issue. It's just titillating. It's there to sell books.

She continues to live. In fact, I found it notable that a large number of the women who are un-sexed by genital mutilation in the book continue to have a sex life. This is the real "gone too far" moment. On one level such characters are grotesque starving nuns, hallucinating on dragon spit in the midst of a weird bestiality-focused ritual orgy. On another they're visionary, strong women engaged in a collective revolutionary act, bonding with the dragons who are perhaps not domestic animals, but sentient creatures, and fellow slaves.

On the contrary, the dragonfucking isn't going too far at all. It's just bestiality. It's been done before in other books. As Cross said, there's been some pseudo-dragonfucking all through the Pern books, and lord knows we have enough talking animal stories around that you can bet somebody out there is getting off on it. Furries do exist.

I think Henry is grasping for straws when she calls these women "visionary" and "revolutionary." They're fucking dragons because it feels good. Yea, they're breaking the law, but many are stuck doing it because they're addicted to dragon venom. They're a bunch of horny drug addicts fucking dragons. Let's not dress this up, OK?

And the reason this book passes the "two women engaged in conversation that doesn't have to do with men" test is because they live in a misogynist society that separates men and women. Who else would they talk to or about when they only ever see each other?

Many other subtle touches demonstrate the sophistication of Cross's feminist analysis.

Excuse me while I emit a long, high-pitched scream.

Feminist analysis of what?? How shitty it is to be a woman? Gee, thanks, I didn't know that! That's not pushed into my face every day. What a revolutionary idea: women are beaten and starved and have their female parts taken out and get raped and that's the entirety of their lives. Might as well kill yourself now.

What an uplifting message for the women of today: just roll over. You're going to get fucked up the ass anyway.

The cover illustration shows a bejewelled, porno-posing fembot caressing herself in a sexy gown; it should show a violent revolutionary, emaciated and wild-eyed, with a buzz cut and a rusty, bloody machete, stabbing an aristocrat. Zarq's liberation and happy ending, if it is possible, would come not from the establishment of a secure nuclear family, but from revolution.

She doesn't stab any aristocrats. And it would be great to see that revolt someday. I'm just doubting that we needed this entire book full of how shitty life is before we get there. Can't we start a book with a real plot and say, "Zarq's life was pretty shitty, so she decided to kill an aristocrat, and was pulled from the crowd to become a dragon priest whatever instead."

Why do we need and entire fucking book detailing all of the terrible things that happen to her that have absolutely no resemblance to a plot? What we have is a grocery list of all the most terrible things that can happen to women in a fantasyland that's so lame that instead of having black people, we have green people as the savage other. What's up with that? Are we reverting to the 50s and Octavia Butler books with green women on the cover? If you mean black, say black, for fuck's sake.

Yet despite all this, it seems to me that the book is being misread; seen not as the deeply political and feminist work that it is but as a sub-par, status-quo-reifying, conventional fantasy.

Just because you have a beaten, abused woman as your main character doesn't mean you're writing the next Great Feminist Treatise. It's a book about anger and violence and people being shitty to each other and dragonfucking because that sells books. Don't give me this "it's feminist and political because a woman gets her clit ripped out" crap. And certainly don't give me the, "This is a Great Book because a woman gets her clit ripped out."

Portraying violence against woman in a patriarchal society doesn't mean you've written a feminist book, much less a good one. If I wrote a book that did the sorts of things to a man that this book does to a woman and had no plot to boot, people would be like, "What the fuck is this? It's one lost list of torture scenes with no plot and an unlikeable, cowardly hero. This woman must get off on torturing guys."

I don't think I'd have anybody standing up and saying people were out of line for making fun of my hero's venom-induced erection. I'd probably think it was pretty silly too.

But oh! This is about a woman getting beaten and abused, so that must be feminist. It must be earth-shattering, and the violence must be being mis-read. Really, it's all about shining a light on how bad patriarchy is, so that makes up for the fact that it has no plot and crappy characters.

Just because a book is held up as being feminist doesn't mean it's a good book.

And it doesn't mean it's feminist.

What's the great plan our heroine has at the end of the book? She wants to enslave her own dragons and own her own feudal lands so she can go on perpetuating the cycle of serfdom and poverty she grew up in, only now she'll be at the top of the food chain.

You could just as easily jump up and down and say this was a book talking about how Bad feudalism is.

Bad, bad feudalism.

Cause I really needed to be convinced of that.

About as much as I needed to be convinced about how much it Sucks to Be a Woman.

What I see in people's reactions to the story is not Cross's sensation-seeking, but the discomfort of the very privileged when they are made to look, or tricked into looking, at something terrible. I suspect it is less the brutality and violence in this book that gives some readers the heebie jeebies, and more the thought that violence is all around us.

Yea, I lived in South Africa. I get that. I also get harrassed on the street, on train platforms, and read endless rants from feminist bloggers about rape statistics, and watch how shitty women are treated if they dare bring charges against a guy. I know all about violence and threats of domestic violence from experience.

That doesn't mean this is a good book. If anybody thinks people have to read Venom Cock to realize that violence is all around us, then yea, maybe they are overprivileged.

And beyond my appreciation of its thematic and political complexity, it is also a book that I enjoyed on the simple level of story—of dying to know what happens next. Books two and three can't come soon enough.

Oh, I already know what'll happen next, which is why I have no interest in reading anything else in this "series":

Things will get worse.

Because, after all, the protagonist is a woman.

And we all know how shitty that is.

I'm going to go read about the WNBA, the first woman to climb Everest, women revolutionary fighters, Sally Ride, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Williams sisters, female pirates, and Laila Ali.

And so on and so on and so on.

Things can be really different.

Yea, there's violence in our lives. But there a hell of a lot more going on, too, and the violence is only part of the story.

Why "Lost" Must Be Written By Robert Jordan

heh heh

At What Point Do Your Realize You're Good?

Earlier this week, a writer friend and I touched on the topic of the infamous Delany Clarion circle. For those not familiar with this ritual, when Sam Delany teaches at Clarion, he has an optional group get-together in which he taps you with his God stick and tells you whether or not he thinks you'll make it as a writer.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's now optional, so it's not like he forces you to stand up among your peers and receive his wisdom. On the other hand, the sheer audacity of anyone presuming to guess - let alone "know" - whether or not someone will "make it" as a writer really pisses me off.

As my friend pointed out, however:

1) some people need to be told early on to quit, because so many of them are just bad.

The flip side to this is:

2) anybody who can be so easily disuaded from writing probably isn't going to be a writer anyway (imagine what they'd do when Jim Baen called them a "twit," SH called one of their stories too "didactic" to publish, and random web surfers and blog personalities crawled out of the woodwork to decry that they were crap writers and straw feminists to boot!).

This got me to thinking about when I knew I was any good at writing - at what point did I realize it was worth it to keep trudging on? When did I decide that I wasn't deluding myself?

I'd always been the "best writer" in every writing class I attended, from age 14, right up through college, but that wasn't much of a pool to draw from. There were so many crap writers that it was pretty easy to stand out. But in real life, you're competing with a lot of people who are a lot better than you are, and every step of the way, you're reminded of just how tough it is to publish anything, let alone make a living doing it.

At Clarion, you meet all the other kids who were the "best writer" in class, and for me, it was the first time I was in a room full of people who were on par with me. There was no "best writer" anymore. And at every party, every instructor sighed and said, "Some of the best writers I've taught put everything they write into a drawer, and you never hear from them after Clarion. So you can't really tell who'll keep writing and who won't. Talent isn't everything in this business."

No, it's persistence.

My buddy Patrick said something to the effect of, "All you can do is keep writing and getting better and sending stuff off. At some point, the forces might all converge, and you'll sign a contract and hopefully another one and another one after that. But until then, you just keep writing and be the best you can be so that by the time you get signed, you're really good."

How do you know you're good, though? Does Sam Delany have to tap you with his God stick? Do you have to have a mentor pushing you the whole way? And so what if you're "good"? "Good" doesn't seem to have much bearing on who gets published (take a look at the bestseller shelves).

I've had some really down times. The last one was when tDW came back from the Agent and she said she loved it, but it didn't start until page 200 and needed a year's worth of rewrites.

It was like getting hit in the gut. I've been writing this book on and off for something like six years. At what point do you give it up? If not give up writing all together, then at least give up the project?

But I love this book, so I bit down my depression over the whole, "Doesn't really get going until page 200 part," and started the big rewrite. I kept up with God's War as well, and kept sending out stories.

When I sold "Wonder Maul Doll," and "The Women of Our Occupation," this year, I was a little stunned. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that I wasn't writing bad stories. They just needed to find the right markets. I'd never seen so many positive rejections (except for "Two Girls," which also needs to find a home). It was just a matter of finding the stories' target market. One of my writing buddies, who's an SF/F critic, pointed out that one of the toughest sells in the short SF/F form is explicitly feminist fiction. Still. Really.

It doesn't help that I'm not all that good in short form.

So when do you know you're good? Maybe you have to have a contract or a dozen, or an agent.


But my realization came last night.

I was sitting in bed poring over my copy of tDW, doing line edits. I hadn't managed to get past the prologue this week because the idea of doing so much work seemed overwhelming.

Then, as I sat in bed and read, I kept reading. And reading. Not because I had to, no - because I wanted to.

I stayed up half an hour past my bedtime thinking, "Just one more chapter! They're short! I want to see what happens!"

My rewriting process concentrated on two POV strings, which meant I hadn't read the entire book from start to finish in a long, long time. I'd reshuffled the chapters since then, cut about 100 pages, and rewritten long sections.

My own book was keeping me up past my bedtime. A book that should be stale as old sheets at this point.

When I finally put it aside, I thought, "Wow. This is good."

I may never sell it. It might end up in a drawer. But that was the moment it finally dawned on me: I'm getting better at this. It's moved beyond mere, "Oh, yea, I guess I have some talent," to "Holy crap, it almost looks like I know what I'm doing."

There's a long road to travel yet, and I intend to keep pushing myself, getting better, watching the words bloom into something far greater than I intended, but for now, I know it myself. I don't need anybody else to pat me on the head and declare it.

I think I'm good.

I don't need anybody to tell me that.

So I'm either delusional, or good.

Whether or not I'll "make it" (whatever "making it" means), isn't up to anybody, however. Not even (especially not even) me. You just keep writing. You keep getting better. You keep sending it out.

After awhile, you do it because you can't imagine not doing. For somebody to quit at this point, I don't know - I guess you'd have to get a gut-bomb far worse than agents telling you your story doesn't start until page 200 and a publisher telling you you're a twit.

You would have to get hit by a bus.

I would, anyway.

Let's hope I don't.

I have a lot of books to write.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Preliminary Wiscon Programming:

I'm on it. Though I don't expect ya'll to show up at 9am on a Saturday...

Feminist Fiction Is So Five Minutes Ago (Feminism, Sex, and Gender)

Saturday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. Saturday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lyda A. Morehouse, Rebecca Maines, Kameron Hurley, Susan Marie Groppi

The Female Warrior in Science Fiction: Who Does It Right and Who Deserves a Soft Tomato? (Reading SF&F)

Saturday, 9:00-10:15 p.m. Saturday, 9:00-10:15 p.m.

Adrian Alan Simmons, Nonie B. Rider, Kameron Hurley, David B. Haseman

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wild Speculation

Spent Saturday and Sunday watching Baylon 5 and sleeping, sleeping, fighting off my yearly sinus infection, and sleeping some more. My appetite was back on Sunday, which meant the worst had passed.

I came home late Friday night after frantically getting everything done at work that I needed to get done and then literally collapsed. I realized that I'd been funneling all of the other stresses in my life that I refused to deal with into my job, and I was imploding. My job really isn't important. I'm not going to say on my death bed, "If only I would have entered those new forecast dates two days early!"


Yesterday I had a pleasant coffee data with Ysa at a coffee shop called Kopi that I hadn't been to before. Great food and drinks, lousy service. Jenn and I went to the Sarah Waters reading as well, which was great (as Jenn said, "Gee, I think all of lesbian Chicago is here!"). As if to confirm that statement, Jenn's ex, K, showed up and said "hi." They're friends and on speaking terms, but I'm baffled as to what to say, if anything. So I didn't say anything.

I went home, took a long bath, and finished the monstrosity that is the Venom Cock book. I've had to force myself through this thing for the last month - and this is from somebody who can read 3-4 books a week. Everytime the author said, "And then things got worse!" I had to set it down for another week. It's a terrible, mean book whose purporse seems to be to be terrible and mean. I'll rant about it later. Try reading this alongside Naomi Wolf's Fire with Fire, and you'll probably understand why Cock pissed me off so much.

Today I'm working on line edits for tDW. I have no intention of leaving the house.

I might do some laundry, but that may just be "wild speculation."

Rumor has it that there's a lot of that going around.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Time Off

I'm taking some much-needed time off from work next week, so COB today is the start of a 5-day weekend.

Thank god. I'm so burned out at this job.

The plan is to watch a lot of movies, sleep a lot, read a lot, and start tDW line edits.

And not much else.

Maybe water my plants.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Excuse Me While I Pass Out

Was going over the Wiscon brochure and discovered this tidbit:

Samuel R. Delany to Interview Joanna Russ

Unable to attend WisCon because of health problems, Ms. Russ nevertheless wants to participate in WisCon 30: she suggested a telephone interview. How could we refuse? You are all invited to listen when Samuel R. Delany interviews Joanna Russ on Sunday for a very special program.


It just gets better and better.

GW Line Edits Done

Whew. All neatly input into the text. Now: write the goddamn last final 100 pages, arg!

And start tDW line edits.

And work on book 2 of tDW series (in my spare time).

And fly to Indy tomorrow (corporate FUCKTARDS!!!!).

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

Had a very nice dinner out with Jenn and James & Ysa. Managed to get home before the big thunderstorm hit.

Inputting the last 60 pages of line edits of God's War into the text. I'll be happy when that's done - tDW is next up for reading and line edits, then I'll have to input those, too. I'll be a bit writing obsessed for the next couple weeks, so they'll be more writing-blah-blah posts than usual for a bit.

Busy, busy bee.

I'm glad spring's almost here. This has been the longest winter ever. And I say that as someone who lived in Fairbanks for two years.

But man, I feel better than I've felt in a long time.

Why I Write:

Because sometimes what you write hits people like this:

Seriously, there are only a handful of short stories that I look back on and remember vividly: Neil Gaiman's version of Snow White, Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream," Kate Wilhelm's "The Funeral," Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," others I am neglecting, and "Genderbending at the Madhattered" by Kameron Hurley.


Ah, makes it all worth it.

Excuse me while I get back to work...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Printing, Printing

Printing tDW today (finally, after a lot of false starts). Takes awhile to print 600 pages.

Jenn and I are halfway through season 1 of Babylon 5. Good show.

Not much more to report. Dinner tomorrow with James and Ysabeau. Inputting some God's War line edits.

My backporch garden continues to grow.