Good morning, y'all! Ready for some righteous rage to go with that cup of coffee? Let's do this thing!
I spent some time with my parents this weekend. My father has Alzheimer's, and my mother has the enormous burden of caring for him. She probably wouldn't state it like that, but it is what it is. We had a long chat late at night as we often do when I visit. It's the best time for her to think of other things that matter. It's important. One of the things that made me think, was this idea of being better companions to the old. I never gave that much thought, really. My family, like many, is splintered in various ways for various reasons--some of them are admittedly stupid reasons and other reasons are damn good ones. That's how it is for a lot of families, I'm sure. And that's why I was thinking about how much of a disservice this is in general. Younger people being separated from old people erases a good third of a human being's life experience. Getting old becomes this terrifying mystery. On one hand, we expect to live forever. On the other, we don't expect to age. Somehow, there's this expectation that we'll always be the same physically if we "take good care of ourselves." Women aren't supposed to get fat, get wrinkles, or sag. Men aren't supposed to loose their power or their marbles. But we're human beings. We do all of these things--if we're lucky.
Isn't that an odd thing to think? Yet, there it is.
Every once in a while I get it into my head that I need to read or see something that affected American culture in a big way--things I didn't get to read or see when they came out because I was simply too young. Sometimes, like in the case of Jaws, the result is an incredible experience. The Godfather is a film I didn't watch until a year ago. As a film, it's an interesting take on crime fiction. I understand why it had such a huge impact. It's an amazing movie. I'm reading the novel now, and I'm a good third to half-way through it. Again, I see why it had such influence. It's a masterful, character-driven tale. The male characters (I would say good or bad except all are apparently bad) are deep and interesting and well-rounded. Even the crocked Irish cop who gets bumped off in the infamous restaurant scene, who gets very little screen time as it were, is fleshed out.
Living with and supporting a Writer is challenging. We are, too often, in our own heads. To make matters even more difficult, Dane is not only my husband, he's my alpha reader. (That's so rare.) One changes and grows as writer as one gains experience. Thus, it's wise to test out one's process and shed the unnecessary bits. In addition, all novels are their own special animals. I've learned to be flexible. So, I stopped doing one of the things that helped me be a better writer. (Lesson successfully learned!) Ultimately, Dane is one of those rare people who makes me think. He isn't a Writer. He's a Reader. He gives great Question. He makes me strive to be smarter than I am. To be honest, it's one of the reasons why I married him. (That, and he's sexy and funny too.) So...yesterday I handed off the first chunk of rewrites. And now I'm even more excited about the new novel. That's how it should be. (It's also what makes Joe Monti such a great editor.) If the person giving feedback doesn't excite you with the prospect of creating better, they are not the right support for you. It took me years to learn that lesson, bats and ghouls. Have it for free!
Frankly, I don't know how anyone writes without support. Having taught writer's workshops for years, I see the same pattern in others. No writer has a perfect perspective on their work. We're just too close to it. I'll allow for the possibility that someone out there has perspective--but most of us don't. Either we think it's the most amazing work ever created by any writer ever (a beginning writer mistake) or we think it's the worst crap anyone has ever puked onto a page (an experienced writer mistake.) I wish I could say that it gets easier. It doesn't. It actually gets harder, the more experienced you become. The more I learn, the more detailed and fine the distinctions I'm working with. I can always tell when I'm challenging myself. The self doubt grows into a vasty huge thing that parks on my shoulders and whispers over and over how I'm doing it wrong. Thus, writing is an uphill fight. Creating is a scary, scary thing, see.
It's also a joyful thing. And the joy of it is what keeps one going. It isn't a constant joy. There's a reason they say only become a writer if you really must. Like any art, this shit is tough. Just...if you decide you have to be a writer, make sure you surround yourself with people who don't make it worse. That's harder to do than you might think.
 I stopped workshopping, for example. Largely, my local group wasn't providing much more assistance other than the development of a thick skin and the knowledge that not everyone's opinion regarding my writing--no matter how educated--is 100% golden when it comes to my own work. Hey, I can get that for free from the public now. Why pay?
 My BFF, Melissa, is the same. And I need to remember that too.
Two bits of music have been floating around in my brain this morning: Danse Macabre and Cyndi Lauper's Money Changes Everything.
Welcome to my brain, y'all. Heh. In other news, after thirteen straight days of migraines I've been getting two day breaks between symptoms. Don't know what's up with that, but it's pretty great to have breaks. Had some flashes last night, but none this morning. So, yay? Also, today is a hair day. I'm off to the salon to get color sorted out. I'm so tempted to say fuck it and have it all bleached to platinum with weird color again. Seriously. This bullshit about not looking middle-aged really pisses me off. Mind you, I want to look like ME as creative, middle-aged woman not Mrs. Soccermom McWhitebread. There actually aren't that many models for that, alas. That's part of the trouble with being erased from the public eye. Women are somehow just not supposed to exist after 40. There are so many lists of things women aren't supposed to wear or do (or be) when we're no longer young... including tennis shoes (wtf?!) and no, I'm not fucking cutting my hair short. Screw that. I like wearing pigtails and paint-slopped overalls and big stompy boots. The nose ring stays. I'm not hiding my tatts. You got a problem with any of that? I suggest you fuck right off and find a better, more positive outlet for your energy. At the same time, I want to stay current and fashionable. It's important to me. The self needs to grow and change over time. Stagnation is death. So, once again I'm waffling between Fuck it and I don't know. There are worse problems, certainly. I just wish I weren't so confused about this one. That's normal, I guess.
Women who haven't vanished: Cyndi Lauper is still kicking it large, and she's my hero. And Siouxsie Sioux came out with a new song last August.
Something I spotted on Twitter this morning: living life like my blood type is B positive. I kind of love that. It takes a lot of energy to push for change, and I think it's too easy to be caught up in the terrible. So, today, I'm bringing the positive. Here are my list of films that make me feel better when things suck.
1. Harold and Maude
2. Easy A
3. Legally Blonde
4. The Princess Bride (but of course)
5. Mean Girls
6. The New Guy
7. Almost Famous
8. Big Hero 6
10. Joe vs. the Volcano (warning: contains problematic humor)
11. Defending Your Life (warning: contains problematic humor)
 Seriously, SFF con world? ANOTHER round of "Let's make excuses for bad behavior and punish victims of abuse for speaking out."? Please, let's learn the damned lesson already. Apologize. Sure, it's scary to admit when you've done something wrong, but here's the deal: it's like ripping off a bandaid. One sharp quick pain and done. Doing so makes everything heal faster. Denial, mind games, and "people are too easily offended" bullshit stances make everything so much worse. Treat people with dignity and courtesy. When you screw up, apologize. Do not make excuses. Apologize. Learn the lesson the mistake is teaching you. It's simple.
First a statement that shouldn't surprise anyone... Conservatives ought to direct their rage toward angry white men actually killing our police officers--not Beyoncé. It's time to look at the facts. There is no conspiracy to kill police officers. It's long past time to put that myth down and back away. It should never have been created in the first place. If you have any doubts in that regard please read this. The data is all there. Of course, that doesn't include the final data for 2015. That would be 1,205 citizens killed by police in 2015 versus 42 gun-related line of duty deaths of cops in 2015. Again if there is a PoC war on the police, it's the most mis-managed war ever--particularly since most of those shootings involved armed white men.
The situation in Flint, Michigan drags on. People in power cannot be exempt to consequences. They simply can't.
Here's a disturbing story about Antonin Scalia's last days. That should give you the heebie-jeebies. It did me. Corruption in the Supreme Court is bad, bad news for American democracy.
And now a series of disturbing links about American journalism and the political process. As it turns out, often "Citizens" who speak at town meetings are hired, scripted actors. Yeah. That. It should be illegal, frankly. And I don't mean on the part of the actors being paid. I think that if a politician resorts to hiring actors (among other things) they should be removed from the race. Period. Our election process is far too vulnerable to manipulation via money. It's time to admit that capitalism is destroying our democracy. In addition, professional journalism is in such a sad state--thanks to cost cutting measures such as relying upon free reporters--that it can no longer be trusted to report on world news. Frankly, this is why I listen to NPR, but even that news source is affected by the money-grubbing attitude in big media circles. Yes, Huffington Post, I'm looking at you.
 Have a few more links on police and violence: Why No One Really Knows a Better Way to Train Cops. Here's What Happens When You Complain To Cops About Cops. And FBI director calls lack of data on police shootings ‘ridiculous,’ ‘embarrassing.’ And In The Post-Ferguson World, Cops Are Now Victims And It's The Public That's Going To Pay The Price.
Good morning and Happy Monday. Ready to get your blood moving via rage? Okay. Here's today's video.
Today's doodle is based upon a child's chalk drawing I saw on the sidewalk while I was on one of my long walks with Dane. The original was oriented ninety degrees to the left, but me being me...I saw it sideways and with a smilie face. It seemed like a good message for today. Sometimes all the focus on what is wrong in the world gets to me. Sometimes it's good to think about what is right. You know? And yesterday, no migraine came to visit. It's the first time since February 7th. I'm hoping this is a new trend.
In other news, the 2015 Nebula Awards Nominees were announced yesterday. I'm so honored to have so many friends on that list. I'm so happy for them. I truly am. It's amazing to know so many talented people. They're all a good influence on my life and my work. They make me want to work harder--to expand and explore in what might otherwise be frightening directions. They also help me think in new ways. In my opinion, that's the great thing about having other creative people in your life. It shouldn't be about competition. (That's one of the biggest reasons I hated art school.) Competition kills creativity. It makes having ideas unsafe and creatives need safety in order to create. It's one of the reasons why insecurity is such a problem among creatives like writers. Creativity is much like play, and there's a reason children are often so much more creative than adults. Young kids just do shit. They don't sit around and wonder if it's good enough. We all have that smashed out of us at an early age--some earlier than others. That's why it's so important to be supportive of one another. In addition, it's important to not make others feel used. Give as good as you get.
And now, I'm just going to add this Muppet video because it makes me happy.
Some friends are getting married today. Having been married for almost 15 years, I don't agree with the sappy "happily ever after" story that women are so often sold. It's fucking bullshit. Marriage isn't for everyone. And you know what? That's a good thing. It should be okay to be alone. Marriage is hard work. As I see it, it's you and your partner against all the awful crap that life can throw at you. Yes, of course, there's the happy, and yes, having someone to share that happy with does make the good things...well...happier. Getting through the tough stuff is a hell of a lot easier too--provided you are the kind of person who is good at relationships, and again, not everyone is. One of the most romantic things Dane ever said to me was, "Keep fighting. I've got your back." You know what? That still sends happy-chills through me. (I'm not sure what that says about me that I find that so much more romantic than a bunch of roses and candy, but there you are.)
So, wedding. It's always great to see a couple grow together as they have. Finding just the right person to be with is extremely difficult, and it's extra difficult when you've had a previous long term relationship that didn't work out. Amanda deserves to happy. So does Joshua. He's a genuinely nice guy. They're both good people. Thus, hopefully no one will show up at the ceremony with a holocaust cloak and a wheelbarrow. That creates such a mess, and it's tough to get your deposit back from the wedding venue once things have been set on fire. Plus, I'm leaving our pitch forks at home. They're impossible to fit in the trunk. And really, do you know how difficult it is to find a wedding-appropriate outfit that goes with a pitchfork accessory? I'm not even going to bring up the shoes.
In other news, Cold Iron got a mention over at SFSignal yesterday along with 100 other great ebook deals. I checked on the gender/race balance of the listing, and it looks like John D. did a good job of balancing out the mentions. I deeply appreciate it when an online venue like that gets the lesson in one. Seriously. This is why I'm a fan of SFSignal. This is also why I said I had faith in them. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are necessary. It takes a bigger, better person to own their mistake--you can't learn from a mistake that you don't own--and learn from it--particularly when it's such a public mistake. I admire that in people. Let's hope that lesson stays learned. I have faith that it will. Again, this kind of effort requires work, but it's too important to slack.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.