September 26th, 2005

bear by san

The whole world's broke and it ain't worth fixing

Now don't get me wrong I love life and living
But when you wake up and look around at everything that's going down
All wrong
You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy endings
We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning

108 K. Draft is done. Now I don't have to touch it again until my editor, agent, and beta-readers tell me what I broke.
bear by san

If I was with my love, I'd live forever

I broke these posts up because they were a little too erratic to link into one big post.

From my comment on ursalav's call for more fabulousity in fantasy, and truepenny's comments thereupon:

I come at it from a different angle. I adore that kind of mad fantasist stuff, but I can't write it.

I'm a synthesist. My brain is very good at looking at standard fantasy or science fiction tropes and going "Well, here's the logical implications of that that haven't been explored--" so that's what I write.

But I love me some bug-headed women. Just can't write 'em, because when I do, I find myself looking at what I'm writing and going "Bug-headed women? I don't believe this shit." I would love to do the verbal backflips and Weird Idea Generation that M. John Harrison does, or Alfred Bester did, or--good lord--R.A. Lafferty. I love that stuff. Lafferty! Yeah! That's the STUFF!

It's not what I write.

When I try it, it comes out contrived at best, and nonsensical at worst. We can only write the stories we get.

Now, I think it's incumbent on us to push the boundaries of those stories, to force them as far as we can. I think the craft of good writing--this came up in a conversation with arcaedia the other day--demands we try to do everything to the best of our ability. This means maintaining artistic integrity, to me, while also striving for accessibility. (And by accessibility, I don't mean dumbing things down. I mean making them as transparent as possible, *within the limits of maintaining artistic integrity.*)

Because I think accessibility is an artistic value, too. (Which is not to say that stick figures or throwing words at a wall are art, if you know what I mean, but there's something to be said for work that's utterly pellucid on the surface, and underneath, layered and craft-ful and possessed of vision.)

Artistic integrity means, to me, not taking the easy way out. It means working your ass off to do it all well. And failing. Of course. And being better at some bits than others. But pushing your limits, every time.

bear by san

Missed it by -->that<-- much.

from suricattus:

Don Adams, who gained worldwide fame and three Emmy Awards starring as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, in the classic television comedy GET SMART, died at 8:02 p.m PDT, Sunday, September 25, 2005, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. He was 82. Although he had been in failing health for more than two years due to bone lymphoma, his death resulted from a sudden lung infection for which he was hospitalized the previous day.

  • Current Music
    Steeleye Span - Horkstow Grange
bear by san

grand old monsters

So that subgenre of odd, melancholy little SF short stories that revolve around the concept that spacers will not be like normal people any more, nor able to relate to them (I'm thinking of stories like "Scanners Live In Vain," "Aye, and Gomorrah," and John Varley's "The Pusher") --can anybody think of some more of those, in a similar vein?

It was sort of a fertile vein of genre allegory for a long time, and I haven't seen one in a while.
  • Current Music
    Steeleye Span - Sir James The Rose
bear by san

Keybone Loff

netcurmudgeon on the glory and wonder that is the IBM keyboard. 

You may not know it by name, but you know what it is. That hulking beige beast of a 101-key keyboard at came with every IBM PC from the '80s to the mid '90s, the one with real mechanical keys that have real travel and give a satisfying click with every keystroke.
Mine is not a model M, but a 7953, though I just bought an M on eBay as a backup. Mine has a quieter click than the M (each key has an individual membrane rather than a buckling spring, so it's tippety tappety rather than KLAK KLAK KLAK) , and does have windows and menu keys--but still has the great tactile feel (it's not squishy--we hates us squishy keybones--we wants to know when the key engages) and it's still heavy enough to use for home defense. Which is a major issue for me, at least, when it comes to choosing keybones)

I have, in fact, taken the screws out of mine, opened it up, vacuumed it, pried all the keycaps, cleaned the undercarriage with q-tips and isopropyl alcohol, and soaked the keys in hot soapy water in a colander in the sink to get the grime off. (I hear a dishwasher works good too, as long as you use the Tupperware setting.) I've had this keyboard for over ten years. That's 14 novels, seven or ten partials, about fifty short stories, and untold quantities of words in media mining, email, nonfiction, proposals, and... livejournal entries. (I can kill a five dollar keybone in under nine months.) The "e" is just barely starting to wear off this one, and I don't use a keyboard condom, and I do eat at my desk.

That malfunctioning ctrl-key was fixed with a pry-off, a good vacuuming, and a dab of lubricant.

All hail the IBM keybone. I spend 12-14 hours a day on this sucker. You'd better believe I love it.

It is the one true keybone of which all others is merely shadows.