bear by san

December 2021



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bear by san

Toxic lettuce

Perchlorate has been found in lettuces grown in the Imperial valley area, specifically California and Arizona.


The chemical is used in the manufacture of jet fuel, and has been known to be contaminating the Colorado River Watershed and Lake Mead for oh, a fistful of years now. It leaches from sites in Southern Nevada (where I live). The government refuses to pay for cleanup.

This is the same government that's building a high level nuclear waste containment facility 90 miles from my house, near Beatty, NV--in the midst of that same watershed.


Fine idea.

I'm having tuna salad for lunch. Probably should have gone with McDonald's as the healthier alternative, what?


Okay, so my online writing group had a little chat last night on plateauing, and Celia pointed out that at this juncture we're all more or less in the last semester of Senior Year, waiting for the diploma. And that's the source of a lot of the frustration and the sense that we're not getting better as fast as we used to.

We're not. It's that whole geometric progression thing--it gets harder as you get better. And most of us are pretty competent journeyman writers right now: the odd pro sale, some attention from editors, just enough encouragement to drive you mad with frustration....

We're waiting for the break and the last few details. The problem is that that break could be fifteen years coming, and we all know it.

I meantioned that I understand why writers become alcoholics: You sit down at the table, you open the bottle, you drink.

The results are predictable.

Kind of like the results of dumping toxic waste near a watershed that quenches the thirst of a quarter of the country.



Senior Year

Okay, so my online writing group had a little chat last night on plateauing, and Celia pointed out that at this juncture we're all more or less in the last semester of Senior Year, waiting for the diploma....We're waiting for the break and the last few details.

Maybe I'm misreading the post -- after all I wasn't there for the chat -- but I would gently disagree with phrases such as "Senior Year" and "the last few details." You don't arrive, really. You pass milestones along the writing road, and that road continues long past the first pro sale, or qualification for SFWA (whether you join or not), or the first Locus review. And unfortunately the road can also include detours, droughts, and dead ends, even for writers with a dozen novel sales. We write, we work around the obstacles, and hopefully we keep learning. That's why persistence is a good trait for writers, whatever stage they're at.


Re: Senior Year

Shoot, I forgot to sign my name. That last post was from me.

--Beth Bernobich

Re: Senior Year

Welcome, Beth :-)

Yeah, I think you're misreading what was meant by that. Because it isn't as if high school graduation is the end of anybody's learning process--but it is the point at which your skills are generally considered more or less competent to take on a world larger than your graduating class and a job at the five and dime.

I've been referring to it for a while as doing one's journeyman work--and the book I have at agent right now is the one I definitely consider my journeyman piece--but that somehow doesn't quite capture the feeling of stasis I've been having lately as the months since my last pro sale slip by, my writing slowly improves, and I'm starting to feel like I'm pushing at a very stretchy bubble indeed.

I think you're absolutely correct in that you don't stop growing as a writer. But then, senioritis doesn't mean that things will be any easier once you get the cap and gown. Conversely, they usually get a lot more difficult and the stakes get a lot higher.


Re: Senior Year

I would still disagree with the phrasing, which implies (to me) some single tangible divide between "arrived" and "not arrived," between "pro" and "journeyman" (?). It's just as misleading, in my opinion, as assigning writers to a particular movement -- the boundaries, if there are any, are far more fluid and often invisible.


Re: Senior Year

I dunno. There was a definite moment in writing Hammered when I looked down at what I was doing and a lightbulb went on over my head and I said, "Shit. I know how to write. And I did not know before."

I expect my skills will continue to improve, but it was a real click experience/epiphany. So I think I'm going to have to respectfully differ.

As for literary movements--I think they're a useful tool, but any category has blurry boundaries. A spectrum is not red,green,blue etc... it's a band of colored light that blurs from one shade to the next.


Re: Senior Year

...it was a real click experience/epiphany

Oh that. Sure. There comes a moment, when you realize you can write. (Often followed by other such moments, when you realize you've clicked up another step, and then another, in ability.)

And don't worry, I shan't trouble you again.


Re: Senior Year


not even a little trouble?


Re: Senior Year

*hears name being taken in vain*

*smites Bear*

Beth, the discussion stemmed from a post on the OWW-Writing list, (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oww-sff-writing/message/47124 , and it may make you log in to see it.) written by Ruth Nestvold, who gave a list of stages in a writer's life. "high school" is the stage when you're so sure you should be making a pro sale, and you just haven't yet, and you don't know why. 'senioritis' was a joke about being close enough to touch it, and still not there yet. Beyond the personalized rejections to bear's favorite sort, "I really liked this (just not enough/but it's not right for the market/but I'm not going to buy it.)" where you just get this feeling that there's some damn secret that no one has told you, and as soon as you do, you'll get that sale. And you know it's not the end of learning, but it's the closest milestone, and damn it, you're ready to be there. :) But "senioritis' is a much faster way to say it.

For me, it's not that it means suddenly I'm ready to take on the world, but it at least means someone else agrees that I'm on the right track. At least momentarily. Now I get to wait for my second sale. Woohoo, undergrad! Rejection city, here I come. :)