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scottedelman July 12 2014, 13:21

Readercon 2014: Friday

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

First thing I did yesterday was to post Thursday’s Readercon videos, because I’d hoped to encourage you to get here today, but don’t worry—I then got out of my hotel room and quickly dove into the thick of things.

First up was the morning panel “Empathy, Identification, and Stories,” which featured Matthew Kressel, L. Timmel Duchamp (moderator), Julia Rios, Andrea Hairston, and Walt Williams.

Here’s what they set out to discuss.

At a panel at Arisia 2013, Andrea Hairston said, “I can only tell you a story if you’re a human who can hear a story and imagine what it’s like to be someone who isn’t you.” Tannanarive Due added that access to stories matters: some children, for instance, can easily find books about characters like themselves, while others have to read books from outside a position of identification. Culture creates structures of identification and empathy; or, to put it another way, ways of feeling from within and ways of feeling from without. How do stories create structures of feeling, and how can writers and readers both benefit from awareness of these structures?

And for those who couldn’t make it to Readercon, here’s the panel itself.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

lossrockhart July 12 2014, 12:02

My tweets

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desperance July 12 2014, 11:45

*ahem*

...and now I am sitting up at half four in the morning, nursing my I-have-run-out-of-interesting-yet-practical-ways-to-spell-cough. This is annoying. I actually felt ill midweek, but now all I have is this wretched hack, or tussis.

If this goes on much longer, maybe I really will go to the doctor. Not that Chaz-has-a-cough! is any kind of news to anyone, it's been happening all my life, but this one's worrying m'wife.

Also, I have no lemons. No emergency toddies for me.

[EtA: this is a lie. Sorry, wasn't that obvious? Of course I'm making a toddy. Just sans citrus. Hot whisky-and-honey: it surely can't hurt. If I had any bitters, I'd add bitters.]
mallorys_camera July 12 2014, 11:37

Hitler Will Have to Pay His Own Bar Tab

I’ve been sleeping badly for the past couple of weeks. Not sure whether it’s the heat – my little garret room has no air conditioning and poor cross-ventilation, so even though the temperatures are cooler this week, it’s still quite stuffy. Makes it hard to work. Could also be the imminent transition: The VISTA assignment ends in two weeks.

The VISTA assignment has been a dreadful disappointment.

I was happy marshalling my little troupe of kids around, but that ended in February when Pollyanna pulled support. Since then, I’ve essentially been doing nothing. I don’t exactly have what you might call the Presbyterian work ethic, so doing nothing is fine in a lot of ways. But I can’t help thinking it’s a waste. I have a little less than 20 years left on this life assignment. Just by breaking the family curse and being a good mother, making sure that Max and Robin are well positioned to make their own choices (insofar as anyone is positioned to make their own choices, which admittedly is not a lot,) I’ve essentially fulfilled the terms of this particular contract.

But I can’t help thinking there’s got to be more.

Sometimes, I feel so close to understanding the essential secret of existence. Though, of course, I don’t.

I think of Mother Teresa who apparently stopped believing in God 30 years or so before she died but remained shackled to that Indian orphanage.

I think of that famous vegetarian Adolph Hitler, murmuring sweet nothings to a dog and petting it under the chin while kicking a Jew in the mouth under his table.

I think of Wystan Auden, covered in cigarette ash, his sweater vest riddled with small, circular burns, sitting in an automat late one night, puzzling the cosmic significance of Brueghel’s Fall of Icarus.

I think of Shakespeare – who was only 41 by most reliable accounts when he wrote King Lear, so how did he know what old age felt like?

I think of hundreds of other people too, all of them dead. Like they have access to some secret that I want to learn. Like in that way station in Bardo, outside of time, I’m gonna put my natural reticence behind me, be bold, walk straight up to them, “Excuse me sir or ma’am, but you made a difference to me and I’d like to buy you a drink!”

Well. Maybe I won’t buy Hitler a margarita.

But why don’t living people touch me?

And what do they use for currency in Bardo anyway?
desperance July 12 2014, 03:03

The fascination of what's difficult

When in doubt, write 3033 words and omit the Yeats quote.

I was much in doubt, so I have written them. And sent them away, unread. I still have a million bajillion things to do, but I am taking the evening off from doing any of them. I am going to drink wine and eat pizza and watch Much Ado About Nothing and have a date night with m'wife. As soon as she gets off from her bajillion things.
ysabetwordsmith July 11 2014, 23:44

Read "Triangle Flowers" on Torn World

You can now read my poem "Triangle Flowers" on Torn World, visible to everyone.
Triangle flowers bloom in spring.

If you like this poem and want to see more like it, please consider sending me credits or karma through Torn World's crowdfunding options. Not a Torn World member, but still want to support the work? I have a permanent PayPal button on my LJ profile page.
ysabetwordsmith July 11 2014, 20:15

Poem: "Amateur Night"

This poem came out of the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from wyld_dandelyon and siliconshaman .  It also fills the "falling leaves" square in the public card for the Spring and Autumn Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by anonymous donation, and it unlocks " 'Tis the Season" so that poem can be posted as soon as it is sponsored.  This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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jongibbs July 11 2014, 17:41

Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e July 11th, 2014



Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

The Crushing Weight of Expectations (Robin LaFevers) Jon's Pick of the Week
http://writerunboxed.com/2014/07/11/the-crushing-weight-of-expectations/

Are You an Advocate for Yourself or a Jack of All Trades? (Linda Lane)
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2014/07/advocate-for-yourself-or-jack-of-all-trades.html

Tips for Pulling Off a Reading (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
http://elizabethspanncraig.com/2278/tips-pulling-reading/

Spamvertisements Are Not Your Friend (Jennifer Laughran)
http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2014/07/spamvertisements-are-not-your-friend.html

Time to Bury the Hachette (Michael Capobianco)
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2014/07/time-to-bury-hachette.html

Obstacles, roadblocks and detours (Joe Moore)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/obstacles-roadblocks-and-detours.html

Restart a Stalled Writing Career (Wendy Lawton) www.booksandsuch.com/blog/restart-stalled-writing-career/

How to Keep the Long Tail Wagging (James Scott Bell)
http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-keep-long-tail-wagging.html

Turning Novels into Screenplays – Part 2 (Art Holcomb)
http://storyfix.com/turning-novels-screenplays-part-2


If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
splinister July 11 2014, 17:15

ArcadeCon 2014

ArcadeCon is taking place in the Ballsbridge Hotel this weekend, and I’ll be dropping by for a couple of panels and to chat to people.

I was a special guest at ArcadeCon last year, and it was one of the friendliest conventions I’ve ever attended in Ireland – chock-full of fantastic cosplayers and fans who are passionate about genre media.

Here are the two panels I’m on:

  • 3pm on Saturday, Ballroom: Representing Geeks: Prejudice, Privilege, Power
  • 4pm on Sunday, Ballroom: We Are Irish Comics

It should be a fun weekend!

~ Originally published at Splinister. You can comment here or there. ~

mallorys_camera July 11 2014, 13:40

Michael Chabon Explains It All for You

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh – a brilliant title – was originally Michael Chabon’s Masters thesis for the writing program at UC Irvine. It’s about a 21-year-old boy, aimless after college graduation, who starts romantic relationships simultaneously with a man and a woman. Published in 1988 when gay life was still pretty much underground so far as mainstream literary sensibilities were concerned, it made a pretty splash in the fountain when it first came out (heh heh heh.)

(At the time it was published, Chabon maintained that the same-sex relationship was not autobiographical. I believe he’s since recanted.)

Chabon tells a story about writing one of the last climactic scenes in the novel that has always stuck with me.

Late one night, he was writing the scene in which the male protagonist finally consummates his sexual relationship with his male best friend. He didn’t want to write a graphic sex scene but still wanted to convey something of the protagonist’s fear. Also, since this was a loss-of-virginity scene, of course bleeding had to occur.

He was stuck, stuck, stuck.

So he went for a walk.

Now, Irvine is not exactly a walkable city, having been designed by urban planners purely to accommodate the needs of automobiles. Also it closes down around 10 o’clock at night. So, one can only imagine what a strange sight Chabon made striding along these broad deserted boulevards, median strips abloom with exotic botanicals, traffic lights synchronized in an eerie, unending ballet of red-yellow-green, red-yellow-green empty mile after empty mile. He would have walked for hours seeing no one.

Then, finally he saw someone.

And that person had… a bloody nose!

And instantly, Chabon knew this was the perfect status detail for the scene he’d been struggling with. When he got back to his desk, everything clicked into place.

The trick, Chabon concludes, is making yourself porous. The Universe wants to partner with you but you have to be open to the collaboration. Difficult balancing act.

If you’re too porous, you lose your sense of self, altogether. I suspect this is the reason why so many writers – other artists, too, of course – are so massively into substance abuse.

If you’re not porous enough, you’re confined to writing the same story – usually autobiographical – over and over and over again.

###


I haven’t written fiction in over a year so writing this Clarion Write-a-Thon piece has been very, very difficult for me. (You can donate to support the Clarion Write-a-Thon, by the way, right here!) When I turn on the tap, all that dribbles out is rusty water. You can’t even brush your teeth with it.

Now, writing fiction is fucking hard, even when you’re writing thinly disguised autobiographical fiction. You don’t just sit down at a desk and write fiction. You sit down at a desk and write those five lines that have been muttering themselves in your ear during car rides all that week, and maybe you couple them with that absolutely fabulous line of dialogue you overheard at that otherwise loser party when you were trying to maneuver yourself close enough to the hors d’ouevres plate to snatch that last piece of sushi.

You think to yourself, Wow! I’m really good.

And then the words stop.

Since very few publishers will seriously consider a five-sentence novel or even short story, you’re forced to start making shit up out of your own head.

And that’s where it gets tough.

Sometimes the words flow; just as often, though, they sputter out in dribblets, and the measure of your craft is how well you’re able to take these two streams of prose, the spontaneous and the forced, and mix them together into a kind of seamless whole.

There’s no way you can keep at this for more than maybe five hours at a stretch. I mean, not unless you're stoned and getting into the obsessive compulsive aspects of creativity.

Afterwards, you need to recharge your batteries. You need to surround yourself with distractions, little windows of life you can spy on and distort for your own uses.

Harriet the Spy is really every author's muse.

And that last is why I really need to cobble together a vast stable of casual acquaintances.
scottedelman July 11 2014, 12:39

Readercon 2014: Thursday

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Another July, another Readercon!

Readercon is my favorite convention. I’ve been to every one since 1987. Well, save one, which I missed due to a conflict with San Diego Comic-Con, though some of you might remember than in order to prevent despair, I sent a stand-in. A stand-up stand-in. This year, thankfully, I was able to make it in the flesh.

As has been usual for the past decade, rather than fly to Boston and bus it to Burlington, I flew to Providence, where I spent the afternoon with Paul Di Filippo and Deb Newton, who drove me to the con. But the con really began at Dulles Airport, because Michael Dirda was on the same flight, and we were able to discuss Forever Amber, Henry Huggins, and Rick Brant’s Electronic Adventures without the need of a moderator or microphone.

In Providence, he and I and Paul and Deb were joined by John Clute and Liz Hand (seen with me below), also on the way to Readercon. So there was much fun (and lobster rolls!) before the con proper even began.

LizHandScottEdelmanReadercon2014

Once we arrived at the con, we took part in a massive group dinner which also included Peter Straub, Gary Wolfe, Kit Reed, plus the organizers of the meal, David Shaw and Diane Martin. And then at 8:00 p.m., the programming began …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

lossrockhart July 11 2014, 12:02

My tweets

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