September 30th, 2006

bear by san

Next time I would rather break than bend.

Today, I start revising Undertow.

Where's the sherry?

(my honeydew list also includes giving the scary space under my desk a good Swiffering, doing some volunteer work on a secret project [henceforth to be referred to as "the secrit volunteer project"] and, um. I'm sure I am meant to be doing something else, as well. Remind me, if you happen to think of it?)

Hmm. If I get shoveled out before the end of October, I can maybe finish the next chunk of New Amsterdam and write a short story or two before World Fantasy. Oh, and that proposal.

Multi-tasking, a very important skill for the working artist.

Now where did I leave my boots?

In other news, jaylake wants to know what you consider professionalism.

  • Current Music
    Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Sonnet 8 | Music to hear, why hears't thou music sadly
  • Tags
bear by san

I should have saved that Warren Zevon quote for this post, if only I had known.

So it's Vienna Teng instead: These are the scars that silence carved on me.

I am full of grief right now. Every time I look up, I see someone else remembering Mike Ford, usually in his own words, and my eyes fill up again. People who were so much closer to him, and I do not want to appropriate that grief. But oh, it hurts, and the grief of my friends hurts, and my helplessness to do anything about it hurts.

And it hurts that Mike would have known what to say.

I wrote a letter today that I may never send. And in the process of writing that letter, I had a conversation with truepenny, who is not just my writing partner but a very good friend.

It was a letter than involved a kind of stark appraisal of things that I don't usually talk about. Or even think about, frankly, until they're thrust into my attention again. I'm an adult survivor of child abuse. I think of it, usually, in very abstract terms. Words. I am an adult survivor of child abuse.

What I wrote today required me to to think about what that meant to me, and how I became that person. And sum it up in a couple of paragraphs. And sometimes you look back and think, hey, man. That was harder than I remember it being.

You do forget. It's self-protective.

I'm happy now; I'm strong. I don't believe in dwelling on old wounds once one is past the point of recovery where one must pick at the scabs and let the pus run out. (There's some pained fannish Farscape metaphor here about squeezing the wound until the blood runs clear. I will trust you to provide it on your own.)

But I also don't believe in being shamed.

This is by way of introduction to Sarah's post about our conversation and the difficulty in talking about abuse without seeming to seek pity or attention (from which she kindly elided me).

But I am not a victim, and I am not a martyr, and I am not in denial.

I am here.

You live, is how you learn that you can cope.

--John M. Ford
bear by san


My editor found the two giant plot holes I couldn't figure out how to fix on the first draft.


bear by san

the writer's koans

For a while, we've been talking on and off about what we started calling "writer's koans." Which is to say, those pithy, exact little pieces of advice that first seem blindingly obvious, and then, as you learn, begin to unpack into mnemonics for breathtakingly complex logical structures and sets of skills.

truepenny just identified another one, something I've been saying for a while: "Don't look down."

Which, on the surface, means "Don't flinch." But unpacks in a lot of ways. observe. understand. look. report. speak truth.

Many of them may seem familiar.

"Send in a man with a gun."
"Omit needless words! Omit needless words!"
"Bleed on the page."

...and others, as previously discussed.

More conversation:
bear by san

Embracing the bohemian lifestyle of the starving artist!

Nalo wants to know how you wax your cat. I was mine by posting polls, of course.

Poll #834033 downscale dining

Which of the following suppers best serves as a celebration of Bear's white trash heritage?

hamburger gravy on mashed potatoes
tuna noodle casserole with cream of mushroom soup
crumbled hamburger patty and rice with grated cheese on top
spam sandwich
off-brand box mac and cheese
bacon sandwiches and potato chips
Chef Boy-R-Dee
baloney and cheese
creamed chipped beef on Wonder bread
tuna melts
anything involving Velveeta

The best way to optimize the delicate flavor of ground chuck is:

diced pepper and onions
char it black in a cast iron skillet with a little extra butter
smother it in store brand ketchup
red-eye gravy
red-eye gravy *and* starch
all of the above
you'll eat the mac and cheese and like it

What can't you throw in soup?

old rice
old pasta
old hamburger
baked beans
the last tablespoon of petrified tomato paste
soaked beans
ticky boxes
neighbors' pets

best grocery store desperation buys:

dented cans
day-old bread
bruised fruit and veg
meat on the sell-by date
a twenty-pound sack of brown rice and a ten-pound sack of red kidney beans

starving artist tickybox:


the radio button that dare not speak its name

  • Current Music
    under a bohemian artistic pile of glitter balls
  • Tags
bear by san

it's time for the cross or the bodhi tree

truepenny and I often get asked how we collaborate. Well, we're not collaborating right now, but we are critting each other.

This is how we collaborate:

truepenny: Do I need the odd little failed seduction scene?  Or is it clear enough that [spoiler] does not have pederastic intentions?

matociquala: It says something about the kid.

truepenny: Yes.  But does it say something this story needs?  (I want it to be saying something the story needs, but I'm not sure I succeeded.)

matociquala: Well, what is the pedophilia doing in the story? (That's a "please explain" question, not a YOU GOT KIDDIE PORN IN MY PEANUT BUTTER JUSTIFY YOUR EXISTENCE question)
bear by san

trivia quiz, spec-fic-pop-music style.

Because apparently I will do anything but edit.

Poll #834139 POP QUIZ! (literally)

Love song to an Ice Age Snow Queen?

Time-traveling spree killer?

Angsty pop in which the singer's girlfriend gets eaten by his hologram machine?

Power blues-rock ballad about a little guy on a long walk?

A cyberpunk ballad by a social critic known for songs about domestic violence?

A song about creeping cyberpsychosis by a Pennsylvanian band geek?

Movie of the same title has nothing to do with this song, which is about a guerilla rebellion.

Bilingual global thermonuclear war?

1983 sequel to a classic 1969 song about a stranded astronaut?

This bouncy rap tune details a series of interplanetary gastronomical prodigies.

They were a one-hit MTV wonder in the US, but this New Wave band had four top 100 hits in the UK, including this lighhearted ballad of armored cavalry and decapitation on the battlefields of the future?

As long as it's the end of the world in the New Wave, tell me the name of a song of a peaceful-post-apocalypse by this band fronted by a famously spastic white-suited singer.

The pop project of a successful soundtrack composer produced this paen to the work of Wells?

A song of love, nightmares, and despair among the A.I. set by a Goth-Rock band known for concept albums featuring vampires and church-sanctioned serial killers.

Known for a perennial dance favorite about the return of the walking dead wit ha dark synthetic sound, this band--featuring a former member of XTC--also penned this hushed meditation on the failure of technology.

Bonus Question:

Only three singers hold place in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This song of Biblical Apocalypse is not the most famous tune performed by the most famous of those men.

SONG NAME AND ARTIST, please Judge's decisions are final.

There might be a prize drawing from among the correct answers!

ETA: I have a signed copy of the Carnival ARC to give away. Variously, it will go to the person with the most correct answers, (since I am informed that, other than the three gimme questions, this is harder than I thought) or--if there is a tie--I will draw names.

Remember that all the songs listed have some SF or Fantasy element, however slight. (It's probably spottiest on #11. [I'm also informed that that's only an implied decapitation, and I'm projecting. FINE. Somebody dies. You decide how.] )
  • Current Music
    Simon & Garfunkle - Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Tags