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[personal|travel] Tired, heading home

I’m badly underslept after a good but complicated day yesterday. I’ll report more when my head is clearer, but for now, I leave you with this image from my Omaha birthday party (not JayCon) last night:

Jay Lake birthday party, Omaha, June 6, 2013

That pretty much says it all.

Flying home now.


Photo © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[personal] The week goes on

Not a lot of big doings to report. Plenty going on in my writing life, but it’s either administrivia or stuff-not-ready-to-be-announced. Day Jobbery has been busy. This is convenient, as I am in the Omaha office this week. Been seeing a lot of old friends while I’m here. It’s fun to introduce Lisa Costello to this part of my life, and the people in it.

I’ve been working in Omaha (in a remote sense) since 1999. Over the past fourteen years, I’ve made literally a hundred trips to this city. Kind of weird when I think about it. This has been my home away from home.

Working a lot on paving the way for the life changes in progress. Those are financial, medical, emotional, business and personal changes. And, of course, ultimately mortal changes. These days I’m so caught up in the details that sometime it’s a surprise to remember what I’m really doing.

My actual 49th birthday is tomorrow. We’re having a dinner for me here in Omaha. We fly home Friday, where I have some medical stuff in the afternoon, then my family birthday dinner Friday night. Saturday is the birthday party for [info]mlerules, for which I am planning to make my heart attack potato salad [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. That of course presumes my problems with my hands and feet will allow me to cook, which may be a major issue.

Next week I see the oncologist, the attorney, the accountant and the financial planner. Plus JayFest and JayCon XIII. And my very dear friend [info]fjm comes from England to visit me. And, and, and…

So the week goes on.

[personal] Visiting family and friends in Omaha

I don’t have family in the Midwest, but Lisa Costello does. Yesterday afternoon, some of her kin drove up from Elmo, Missouri. We met them in Council Bluffs, Iowa for dinner. This was the first time I’d been introduced to any of Lisa’s family. It was fun to sit and talk with them about life. She hadn’t grown up with any of these folks, so I didn’t get to hear funny Lisa-as-a-child stories, but I did learn more about her and her people.

We had also met two dear friends of mine for brunch yesterday. Which would have been slightly more successful if I had not gone to the wrong restaurant initially. After some confusion, and a swift drive from downtown out to west Omaha, we got it all sorted out.

And of course, Saturday night after our arrival, we dined with longtime beloved friends [info]garyomaha and [info]elusivem, enjoying some rather good barbecue in scenic Elkhorn, Nebraska.

Dinner tonight with [info]garyomaha and [info]elusivem, the Omaha Beach Party tomorrow night, and Thursday (the actual date of my 49th birthday) there’s a big dinner where my work friends and my social friends will all intersect.

Off to the office a bit later this morning, where I will see more friends and do some, you know, work, in the bargain.

[travel] And we are away to Omaha

Lisa Costello and I are about to head to the airport for our trip to Omaha. We’ll be visiting the children of the corn, along with the Day Jobbe and whatnot. My actual 49th birthday will pass whilst we’re there as well.

See some, all or none of you in the jewel of the Midwest.

[travel] Off to Omaha tomorrow

For those playing along with the home game edition of “Where’s Jay”, I am off to Omaha tomorrow. Lisa Costello comes with me. She is interested in seeing my workplace and meeting my social and professional friends there.

The Omaha Beach Party meets next Tuesday, 6/4. (If you’re in the area and want to see me, this is functionally an Open Dinner. Contact me for details.) Thursday, 6/6, is my actual 49th birthday, so we’ll be having a big dinner for me there mixing both groups of my friends. Home 6/7 for, among other things, my family birthday dinner.

See some, all or none of you there.

[travel|events] My upcoming appearance schedule, as it stands today

For those playing along with the home game edition of “Where’s Jay”, here’s my current appearance schedule. Subject very much to changes in my health, of course.

Date Event

Tuesday, April 23rd Wordos in Eugene, OR, for a discussion of my Nebula- and Hugo-nominated novella, “The Stars Do Not Lie” (with Lisa Costello in attendance)

Thursday, May 2nd Speaking at Illumina Corp in San Diego on Whole Genome Sequencing from the patient perspective (with both [info]the_child and Lisa Costello in attendance)

Friday, May 3rd through Sunday, May 5th Guest of Honor at Gaslight Gathering (with both [info]the_child and Lisa Costello in attendance)

Wednesday, May 8th Meeting with my oncologist to discuss current developments, the formal diagnosis and treatment plan

Friday, May 17th through Saturday, May 18th Nebula Awards Weekend in San Jose, CA (with both [info]the_child and Jersey Girl in Portland in attendance)

Everything after this point is subject to change depending on the exigencies of cancer treatment per my oncology consultation on May 8th

Sunday, May 19th through Sunday, May 26th Rio Hondo writing retreat in Taos, NM

Saturday, June 1st through Friday, June 7th Work trip to Omaha, NE (with Lisa Costello in attendance)

Saturday, 15th JayCon XIII [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] here in Portland, OR (with various other festivities TBA around the weekend, pretty much everyone in attendance)

Friday, June 28th through Sunday, June 30th Locus Awards Weekend, Seattle, WA (with Lisa Costello in attendance)

Thursday, August 29th through Monday, September 2nd LoneStarCon 3, San Antonio, TX (with both [info]the_child and Lisa Costello in attendance)

[personal] Sick

Somewhere between my adventures in Omaha and the last day or so, I have fallen quite ill with what may be the first portion of an epic cold. I slept through most of yesterday’s afternoon’s dinner, then left early, missing the St. Patrick’s Day party completely. You can imagine my frustration at this, given my feelings about how many compromises I already make to my social activities.

Meanwhile, I feel like hell. Supposed to go to Florida Wednesday, which will not be fun if I have to do it with this horrible cold hanging around.

On the plus side, my restless dreams last night included a visit to Australia to hang out with Cat Sparks. If only that were true.

[personal] Home, and an eventful, friend-filled weekend

I got home from Omaha last night, to be met at the airport by the delightful Lisa Costello. Gabrielle Harbowy and Fanny Darling arrived at almost the same time for a weekend visit, we did the lunch thing, then spent the afternoon at Nuevo Rancho Lake. There we were joined by [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom), the Niece and [info]the_child.

This morning, [info]the_child goes off for a weekend of lacrosse, while the rest of us head for Pine State Biscuits, along with Dad, for breakfast. The tribe is having a dinner this afternoon at the home of Lisa and Jersey Girl in Portland with Gabrielle, Fanny, [info]mlerules, and Team E—. We invited Debra Stover as well, but she could not make it. After that, most or all of us are off to a rocking St. Patrick’s Day party for the evening.

Also, today I plan to put the final edits on the submission draft of the nonfiction chapter on steampunk. Maybe some other revision tomorrow, maybe a day off, but I need to get on to assembling my slideware for the forthcoming Nerd Nite talk on genomics and cancer [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ].

For those playing along with the home game version of “Where’s Jay”, I’m off to Orlando, FL on Wednesday to attend ICFA. Yes, Mr. Don’t-Go-Out-In-the-Sun is going to Florida for five days.

[cancer] Last night I was very, very angry

The fucking hits just keep on coming.

I’m still adjusting to my deepening sense of foreshortened mortality. Doors keep closing on my future, and I’m trying to live in the moment. In Omaha right now for work, which used to be a (nearly) monthly occurrence, but now happens far less frequently. I’m off to ICFA next week, along with some other event and personal travel plans in the next couple of months, because quite frankly I’m trying to cram in not just a year’s worth of living, but probably the rest of my life’s worth, into what will likely be a very narrow window.

At the same time, things happen at home. On this blog I rarely discuss the issues faced by people around me, and even then only with their permission. It’s not for me to breach other people’s boundaries of privacy and confidentiality. Suffice to say that in my circle of family and friends my own cancer journey has brought not just the obvious severe distress, pain and sorrow, but more serious issues including emotional breakdown and even hospitalization for stress-induced illness.

Yesterday afternoon there was a major eruption back in Portland. So serious that I looked into changing my flight home, but that was profoundly cost prohibitive. People are angry, bitter, and very sad; and some extremely expensive things happened which I shall have to pay for out of pocket. At this end in Omaha, I was on the telephone for over three hours dealing with what I could. Friends and family in Portland were far more deeply involved in dealing with things directly.

As a result I did not get any further writing done last night.

As a result I went to bed late and am short slept.

As a result I am probably going to have to cancel my weekend plans back at home.

As a result I am strongly considering canceling my trip to Florida next week.

It’s not enough that cancer has to ravage my own life, stealing both my long-term hopes and short-term freedoms. Cancer also fractures and distorts the people who love me. Their pain and anger then flows back into my life, where I have to deal with the consequences of that. I lose on both the first-order effects and the second-order effects.

I know this is not all about me. Other people’s distress is genuine and real and needs to be addressed. But God damn it, I feel like I cannot catch a break. Even this narrow slice of time where I can travel and do the things I used to do in my everyday life is compromised.

So last night I was very, very angry. I woke up this morning very, very angry. Not at anyone, just at the situation. Much as with the compounding financial issues of end-of-life care, the emotional issues that arise at end-of-life compound one another in a horrid negative feedback loop that tears us all down.

Cancer: it’s why I cannot have nice things.


P.S. — I apologize for talking around the issues. I know this style is classic passive-aggressive Internet drama bait. But some stories really, truly are not mine to tell, and it’s hard to talk about my part in them without breaching that confidence. It’s equally hard not to talk about them at all.

And yes, everyone involved will be all right.