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[child] She just keeps growing up

[info]the_child sings Papagena in her 7th grade class production of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute tonight. When I was in seventh grade, we were doing skits about a farmer and his horse. I cannot help but be impressed.

Recently, a high school friend who’d moved to Portland contacted me. We had lunch, and as a result, he, his wife and his daughter are planning to attend tonight. I had mentioned this to [info]the_child, so yesterday she asked me his name, looked him up on Facebook, and sent him a note introducing herself and telling him how pleased she was he would be coming to the opera, and that she was looking forward to meeting him and his family. This piece of social grace was utterly on her own initiative.

In another frame, the mother of one of her school friends is having a very difficult struggle with metastatic cancer. Though she has not shared her prognosis, hope is growing thin on the ground right now. Yesterday [info]the_child asked me, as she has once before, what her school friend would do without his mother. We had a long, thoughtful talk about cancer, death, parenting, love and community, but especially about the hopes of a parent for their child, and the needs of a child for their parent at the different stages of life. I didn’t have any good answers to give her, because there aren’t any in a time like this.

We also talked about what it meant to “fight” a disease. [info]the_child pointed out that both [info]calendula_witch and [info]shelly_rae had been instrumental in keeping me fighting when I was at my worst. We agreed that love and family were very important.

Who is this mature, reflective, loving human being, and what has she done with my daughter?

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[links] Link salad overeats dreadfully before coming back from Texas

A reader reacts to (among other things) Mainspring — Very much with the not liking of my book. For reasons interestingly detailed.

Fantasy Book Critic reviews of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 — With very strong praise for “The Passion of Mother Vajpai”, a Green short story by me and [info]calendula_witch.

From Ancient Giants, Finding New Life to Help the Planet — Genetic conservation of bygone forest giants.

Prehistoric Human Brain Found Pickled in BogA brain in near-perfect condition is found in a skull of a person who was decapitated over 2,600 years ago.

The bad rap — and the truth — about vaccinations — Some sensible talk. (Via @twilight2000.)

“In God We Trust” (At least until the government gets its act together) — The relationship between government and God, from a different angle. (Thanks to David Goldman.)

The sharia panic factory — More intellectually consistent thought leadership from your Republican party.

The President Is MissingWhat have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?

?otD: Do you like Tex-Mex cuisine? If not, what the hell is wrong with you?


4/11/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (WRPA, edits to various projects)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.75 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 251.2 (amazing given how badly I’ve been eating)
Currently reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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[cancer] Seeing it from the other side

I have a friend here in Portland who is in his mid-60s. He’s going through a very similar cancer course to mine, albeit significantly more severe, as his primary cancer had already metastasized when first detected. Yesterday I had planned to visit him at his house, mostly to listen, and also to talk about strategies for surviving chemo with heart and mind and body intact.

Yesterday, he was admitted to the oncology ward of his treating hospital for severe complications from chemotherapy. So I visited him there instead.

Without too much detail, he’s lost about thirty pounds in the past eight or ten weeks. He looked dreadful. After two months of chemotherapy, he was worse off than I was at the end of a six-month course. I sat with him for about an hour and half while his family ran errands, and mostly we talked. Slowly, on his part, and listening on my part.

The tiny, hospital smelling room; the infusion pumps gently clicking; the beeping of alarms in the hallway; even the look of the bed — this is his journey, not mine. But I’ve been on a very similar journey, and have even odds of getting my ticket punched for the chemo trail again in the near future. Being there put me in a very odd, fragile mental and emotional space.

Did I look like this? I don’t think so, but I never saw myself from the outside. Did I have the cognitive disconnects he was going through? Absolutely.

I realized anew yesterday how frightening my chemo course must have been to [info]the_child, to [info]calendula_witch and [info]shelly_rae, to my family and friends. I realized anew how frightening it was for me.

He’ll probably be ok, my friend. The complications have been stabilized, they’ve identified the reason for the weight loss and are remediating that. Me, I walked out of there weeping for him, for me, for all the lost years and lives that cancer steals from the living and the dead.

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[awards|repost] Hugo pimpage

Hugo nominations are nearly closed out. For the record, here is a selected list of my own favorite work of this past year, should you be inclined to review it for award consideration in your own nominating process.

Novels
Pinion, Tor Books
Third volume in the Mainspring cycle, action-adventure in the clockwork Earth.

Novellas
The Baby Killers, PS Publishing
Alternate history politics, magic and spycraft, wherein I try to address the steampunk aesthetic at all levels of the work.

“The Bull Dancers”, Audible.com (audio presentation as part of METAtropolis: Cascadia)
Sequel to my piece in METAtropolis, about the ultimate fate of Green cities in a world beset by a soft apocalypse.

The Specific Gravity of Grief, Fairwood Press
My intensely personal study of a genre writer riddled with cancer. Arguably more appropriate for “Best Related Book”.

Novelettes
“Coming for Green”, The Sky That Wraps, Subterranean Press
An exploration of the Green universe from the perspective of a much put-upon secondary character.

Short Stories
The Starship Mechanic” with Ken Scholes, tor.com
Our joint project from a writer-in-the-window session at Borderlands Books, about an alien lost on Earth.

From the Countries of Her Dreams” with Shannon Page, Fantasy Magazine
A side tale from the Green universe from another perspective.

The Speed of Time“, tor.com
Structurally experimental view of the end of the universe.

“If This Were a Romance” with Shannon Page, Love and Rockets, DAW Books
Exactly what it says on the tin. A romance set on a generation ship.

“Torquing Vacuum”, Clarkesworld
Backstory on three important characters from my Sunspin space opera project.

Best Related Book
The Specific Gravity of Grief, Fairwood Press
My intensely personal study of a genre writer riddled with cancer.

Also, I am eligible for nomination as Best Fan Writer for this blog, and as Best Editor, Short Form, for METAtropolis: Cascadia.

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[links] Link salad wakes up slow and cold

Rich Horton says good things about several of my stories in DAW anthologies — Also gives a shout out to [info]calendula_witch.

Announcing Ken Scholes! — Cascade Writers confirms that Ken Scholes is taking over my slot at this summer’s workshop. There are still a few registrations open.

Science fiction author begins war of the books worldsStephen Hunt has grown so tired of the marginal status of his chosen genre that he has begun campaigning for equal genre rights. Really. Who reads that Stephen King stuff, anyway? Or J.K. Rowling?

The Ashtray: The Ultimatum (Part 1) — A fascinating article about Thomas Kuhn, among others. (Snurched from [info]susansugarspun.)

How the Internet Tried to Kill Me —This is funny. (Via Dad.)

Archaeologists unearth Neolithic henge at Stonehenge — (Via Emily Siskin.)

Language Log on the history of the word ‘tsunami’ in English — When I was a kid, I swear we still called them ‘tidal waves’.

This photo from Japan is beautiful and heartbreaking — Yes, it is miscaptioned, and it appears to date from a 2006 earthquake. It’s still a powerful image.

[info]pecunium with some links to before-and-after images of Japan — (Via [info]lt260.)

[info]cathshaffer is sensible about Japan’s current post-tsunami nuclear issues, and the coverage thereof

?otD: Daylight savings time: threat or menace?


3/14/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (2,800 words on Sunspin)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 253.0
Currently reading: Between books

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[sale] Short story “A People Who Always Know” to The Modern Fae anthology

“A People Who Always Know,” written collaboratively with [info]calendula_witch, will appear in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, for DAW.

This story takes place in [info]calendula_witch‘s Hobgoblin continuity. As she says, it features some important characters from that book, before the action of the novel itself.

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[links] Link salad parties with the belly dancers

A nice review of “Rolling Steel” by me and [info]calendula_witch

Star Wars’ Imperial March played with a floppy disk — Um, wow. (Thanks to Dad.)

How a steam powered sawmill works — (Thanks to KF.)

Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!': Trivial, It’s Not — A discussion of what Watson’s recent win means. (Thanks to my Dad.)

The ‘core pathway’ of aging — Cool stuff in the biology of senescence. (Thanks to David Goldman.)

No Argument: Thomas Keeps 5-Year Silence — A curious piece on America’s most fair-minded, non-partisan jurist, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

?otD: Got fringe?


2/19/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,400 words on a short fiction project)
Body movement: 55 minutes of belly dancing workout/class
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (interrupted)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Currently reading: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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[links] Link salad files its nails while they’re dragging the lake

Electric Velocipede 21/22 reviewed — Including “In the Beginnings” by [info]calendula_witch and me.

A reader comments on my cancer novella The Specific Gravity of Grief — The resonances for her are unfortunately strong.

Ken Scholes is looking for company in Chicago Thursday evening — If you’re in Chicagoland, say howdy.

Light-Emitting Rubber Could Sense Structural Damage — I so totally misread this headline.

A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans — Great article about machine cognition, but I especially like the ‘Paris Hilton problem’. (Via my Dad.)

Reagan and Reality — Two words you don’t often see in the same sentence…

In Haley Barbour’s Mississippi: Civil War Looms Over License Plates — Mmm, classy. Nope, no racism here. Move along, boy, nothing to see.

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers — And the rational discourse of the American Right takes another step on the road to civility in their obsession with forced pregnancy.

Terrorism and Magical Thinking — Ta-Nehisi Coates with more on the proposed South Dakota abortion law, including a fascinating riff on why the politics of forced pregnancy have been so successful.

Mitch Daniels and the 2012 Field — Some thoughts on 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitch Daniels from conservative commentator Daniel Larison.

?otD: Watching the detectives do what, precisely?


2/16/2011
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (copy edits on Endurance)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 251.4
Currently reading: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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[personal] Bits and pieces

I dreamt last night of waterspouts. An old nightmare, one I haven’t revisited in years. These looked like a cross between waterspouts and low-yield nuclear blasts. I was in Hastings, in the UK, with calendula_witch trying desperately to locate something or another which we couldn’t find, and kept stopping to photograph the monster weather menacing the town.

Parent meeting today at the_child’s school wherein the forthcoming classroom topic of reproductive anatomy was reviewed with us. This was a fairly amusing set of discussions, from my perspective, but for the most part I was the only one in the room laughing. I am either a cad, or notably unrepressed.

At lunch yesterday, I was explaining some of my narrative strategy behind Sunspin to my dining partner, a dear friend and delightful human being who happens to also be an author and thus is interested in such things. I was using the provided crayons to draw plot arcs on the butcher paper covering the table when it suddenly occurred to me that some of the techniques I’m experimenting with in writing Sunspin are in fact preparatory to what I’ll need to do for Original Destiny, Manifest Sin. Fred has apparently decided to use a half million+ word space opera as a dry run for a fantastic alternate history of the American West. Go me!

Hitting a party tonight, out and about in the morning, then tomorrow afternoon: momos! Go cook something good this weekend.

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[sale] Short story “A Place to Come Home To” to anthology When the Hero Comes Home

calendula_witch and I have made another collaborative sale, short story “A Place to Come Home To” to When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy, forthcoming in trade paperback and ebook from Dragonmoon Press in August of 2011.

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