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[personal] So you say it’s your birthday

Today is my twelfth annual thirty-seventh birthday. Which means I’m forty-eight.

Festivities got under way yesterday with spending much of the day (and evening) helping an injured friend through the medical system. [info]calendula_witch had done yeoperson’s duty in taking our friend to the ER around midnight the night before, but I picked up the day shift. I tool her back to the ER for some pain management intervention, then to the orthopedic clinic for an urgent consultation, plus all the stuff you do for someone who’s suffering from significant trauma as well being doped to the eyeballs on pain killers.

The best part was the reaction you get when you’re a large man walking into the ER with small woman suffering from multiple fractures and contusions. No, really, I didn’t do this to her. No, really.

So, no writing yesterday for good and obvious reasons, and severe neglect of the birthday oriented email that began flooding in.

Today is my actual birthday. Celebrations will include an hour with my therapist, lunch with [info]kenscholes, a birthday visit with @PDXjerseygirl, a very nice dinner with my family at the Chart House, and another birthday visit with an out of town friend after dinner.

Tomorrow is more out of town friend stuff, plus [info]the_child gets back from her eighth grade trip. Friday, JayCon prefestivities start with a party for the out of town visitors. Saturday, of course, is JayCon XII. [ | LiveJournal ]. Sunday is the wind-down from JayCon, plus the eight grade end-of-year picnic.

So, yeah. My birthday has morphed into a six-day celebration observed through hospital visits, hot tubbing and visitors from half a dozen states.

Most of all, thanks to my friend cancer, I’m quite surprised to still be alive.

[writing|cancer] Back on the horse, sort of

Yesterday for the first time since the surgery, I was able to focus on writing tasks. I spent about an hour and a half reading the Worldcon writers’ workshops manuscripts that have been entrusted to me. I’ll need to spend more time before I’m done, as I have to formulate my critique after they’ve spent a few days marinating in my backbrain, but it was productive time.

This afternoon I’ll be working with [info]kenscholes on the Hugo script some more. That will also be writing-driven, and surely needs to be done, as the ceremony is in slightly more than two weeks. (We have it mostly together, now we’re working on read-through and timings, plus discussing what additional material to insert.)

The 900 pound gorilla for this month isn’t the Hugos, though, it’s needing to write the next 60-70,000 tranche of Sunspin by the end of the month. I hope to start that project Friday or Saturday. To that end, I’m going to knock off reading Iain Banks’ Culture novels, as I’ve learned from long experience not to be reading whatever I’m writing while I’m writing it. Ie, when writing SF, read fantasy or nonfiction or something. And vice versa.

The post-op brain has been pretty functional since a few days after surgery, especially in terms of surface affect. But I haven’t had much depth. I’m still sleeping 7-8 hours per night and napping during the day, which is ample supporting evidence of the obvious — that my body is busily healing the profound physical damage of surgery. But as I’ve noted before, when one is recovering from surgery, and specifically from anaesthesia, it happens in layers. You feel okay, then one day you realize you feel more okay, more alert, more capable.

That I was able to read manuscripts yesterday is evidence that my writing brain is about back online. Writing again will reduce my stress levels and increase my day-to-day life satisfaction. (I get tetchy when I don’t write for a while.)

So, yes, I’m back on the horse. Sort of.

[conventions] A travel day and an excellent dinner

Yesterday’s travel from Portland to Boston was delightfully uneventful. I slept some, and got a ton of work done on Sunspin. Currently catching up to the manuscript to get the voice and plot back in my head, reasserting my span of control before I start writing again. Unfortunately, my forthcoming cancer surgery falls right about when and where I’d be jumping back into the book deeply, so there will be a hiatus of 2-3 weeks.

Dinner last night with la agente at the startlingly good restaurant here at the Readercon hotel. Magnificent food. Since I’ll be going on clear liquids Monday, then IV feeding for 2-3 days starting Tuesday, then back on clear liquids for a while after that, I decided to bork my diet and enjoy the dinner for what it was. The wages of sin is gustatory bliss, I’m here to tell you.

Readercon today, in a low-key way. Look for me in the bar if you’re here, or maybe the dealer room. I’ve already run into tons of friends, and look forward to making many new friends this weekend.

[personal] So you say it’s your birthday, plus steampunky goodness

Well, yesterday was my actual birthday. I turned 47. To celebrate, I spent the day in Seattle at the home of noted urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts.

The Pittses brought me over to the University District for a very nice dinner with 25 or so of my closest friends at the Big Time Brew Pub, after which we all trooped over (in my case, very slowly) to University Books for a reading and discussion of Jeff VanderMeer’s new opus The Steampunk Bible.

Cherie Priest, Libby Bulloff and I were the representative steampunks, and there were a good 50 or 60 people in attendance. The event went very well indeed, and at the end there was birthday cake.

Linda Deneroff very kindly took over my camera during the event, but I haven’t had time or energy to upload the photos yet, so look for some photoblogging over the next few days.

All in all, the movable feast that is JayCon and my birthday was excellent. I received close to a thousand happy birthday messages yesterday via Facebook, blog comments and email from friends and fans around the world. You guys are amazing. It was like a fountain of love and affection and goodwill. Thank you. Stretching from my visitors last week through my Friday pre-party for my fly-in JayCon guests through JayCon itself and a quiet evening event to the Sunday brunch to yesterday’s actual birthday, it’s been an intense, highly rewarding celebration. My birthday season will wrap with a family dinner Thursday night with my brother, who’s flying into town that day.

This is a tough, tough year for me. The energy of these past days will be a huge part of carrying myself forward through the medical hell to come. I can never thank all of you enough, but these words will have to do.

Thank you.

Now go read a book or something.

[links] Link salad knows it’s time, sees the sign

Making Light reminds us that the Viable Paradise application window is closing — If you’re interested, get those manuscripts in.

A French review of Jade (neé Green en Anglais) — It seems rather favorable. (The review is below the book description.)

A reader reacts to my novel Rocket Science — He likes it.

@chivalrybean with a JayCon report — A nice write-up.

Pride and Prejudice — Ta-Nehisi Coates on V.S. Naipaul and learning from writers we can’t agree with. We don’t get to choose our teachers. If you’re going to be an artist, or a thinker, or even a full person, you better be able to make yourself into something more than the shadow of someone else’s bankrupt philosophies. You better be more than an obvious and predictable reaction. A difficult topic, and one our own field has in the past few years largely failed to handle with any nuance or wisdom.

Lucas imprisoned while an impostor made the prequels. — Hahahahahah.

A Last Landing for Space Shuttle Endeavour — Another stunning photo from APOD.

Making Work — Slacktivist Fred Clark with more on unemployment in America.

The Palinization of America — Yeah, well. Welcome to Republican America.

Palin Says She Didn’t Err on Paul Revere — Apparently the Palin followers are in a Wiki edit war on the Paul Revere page. Conservatives, now literally rewriting history to match their counterfactual fixations. And you guy wonder why us in the reality-based community think you’re nuts? (Thanks to my Dad.)

Sarah Palin’s tour a rolling menace — Ah, here’s that common touch for which she is so beloved.

Everything Is Political — Paul Krugman on Republican litmus tests. As usual with Republican ideas, not reality-based.

Our News and their News — Juan Cole with a very thought-provoking comparison of American news and Mideast news. Your Liberal Media my ass.

?otD: How far to the point of know return?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (300 words to finish a short piece, plus WRPA)
Body movement: 35-minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently (re)reading: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

[conventions] AussieCon 4, Day One

Had a great time yesterday here in Melbourne, albeit running very much up against the limits of my energy. Spoon management, indeed.

I overslept amazingly. Hence yesterday’s paucity of blogging. Then I grabbed some breakfast and walked across the plaza to the convention center with danjite and khaybee. Saw about a zillion folks I know over there in the process of collecting badges, pro packet, etc. Eschewed programming in favor of laying fairly low for the day.

calendula_witch and I did go to lunch with John Scalzi over at the Crowne Plaza to check out the bar. (It was a bust.) Ran into gaaneden and Mr. Gaaneden there, along with several other friends both old and new. We then spent the afternoon loitering in the Hilton bar (despite my announcement of yesterday), followed by dinner with Diana Gill, John Scalzi, danjite and khaybee at the casino nearby. Pretty good Italian food.

Post-dinner, I went back to the room and collapsed while everyone else partied late in the Hilton bar.

Today I have a panel at noon and a reading at 4:30. Otherwise I’ll either be napping or in the Hilton bar again. (Detect a theme here?) Trying to manage energy and spoons so I can power through the evening parts of the Con. (Ahem, Hugos.) Ten or eleven weeks after chemo, this is still damned tough. Having a good time trying, though.

See some, all or none of you around the joint today.

[awards] Final Hugo pimpage

We’re near the end of the Hugo nominations window, so I thought I’d a last updated pimpage here.

My favorite picks are in bold with *.

2009 Published Science Fiction:

* “On the Human Plan; Lone Star Stories; February, 2009 [short story]
* “Rolling Steel: A Pre-Apocalyptic Love Story (with Shannon Page); Clarkesworld; April, 2009 [short story]
* “To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves”; The New Space Opera 2, ed. Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, Eos, April, 2009 [novelette] [in Sunspin continuity]
Leopard“; Jim Baen’s Universe, June, 2009 [short story]
“Black Heart, White Mourning”; Grant’s Pass, ed. Jennifer Brozek and Amanda Pillar, Morrigan Books; August, 2009 [short story]
* “Chain of Stars; Subterranean, October, 2009 – [novella] [In Mainspring continuity]
“Last Drink Bird Head”; Last Drink Bird Head, ed. Jeff vanderMeer; Ministry of Whimsy Press, October, 2009 [flash]
* Death of a Starship; MonkeyBrain Books, November, 2009 [novel]

2009 Published Fantasy:

* “Golden Pepper; Flash Fiction Online; February, 2009 [flash]
“The True Secret of Magic”, as Joe Edwards; Crime Spells, ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Loren Coleman, DAW; February, 2009 [short story]
“Witness to the Fall”; Crime Spells, ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Loren Coleman, DAW; February, 2009 [short story]
To Stone” (with Shannon Page); Morrigan eZine, May, 2009 [short story]
* Green; Tor Books, June, 2009 [novel]
People of Leaf and Branch“; Fantasy; June, 2009 [short story] [in Green continuity]
“Tale of the Poet and the Dog”; Japanese Dreams, ed. Sean Wallace, Prime Books; Summer, 2009 [short story]
“An Elderly Pirate Recalls the Death of Love”; Electric Velocipede Issue 17/18 [short story]
* “Red Dirt Kingdoms”; Realms of Fantasy, October, 2009 [short story]
Madness of Flowers; Night Shade Books, November, 2009 [novel]
“Bone Island” (with Shannon Page); Interzone, Fall, 2009 [novelette]
“Shedding Skin; Or How the World Came to Be”; Shimmer (Clockwork Jungle Issue), Fall, 2009 [short story]

I also note immodestly that is Campbell-eligible this year.