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[cancer|personal] The things people say to me - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-07-19 09:26
Subject: [cancer|personal] The things people say to me
Security: Public
Tags:awards, cancer, health, personal, writing
Loose paraphrases of some things people have said to me recently, but not that loose.

"Hey, Jake..." If you want me well-disposed to do anything for you, including simply answering your email, use my actual name. I am not now and have never been "Jake". It's the only misuse of my name that actively bothers me, but it does bother me. I think that this version means the writer simply isn't paying attention, eliding "Jay Lake" into "Jake". Nothing wrong with Jake as a name, but it's not my name.

"You've done more in your life than most people ever will." This is apparently supposed to make me feel better about dying decades too soon. Exactly how is this a comfort to me?

"At the end, it will be a relief to let go." That's even worse than the one before. Again, why would I want to look forward to that?

"Your Hugo-nominated novella isn't your best work. You got the nomination out of sympathy." While that might even be true — How would I know? — and it's certainly an opinion that some people may hold, what is the point of writing me an earnest letter saying such a thing? How does this improve my life?

There's more, but you get the idea.

So, yeah. Just saying'.

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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2013-07-19 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's amazing how well-meaning people can end up saying the stupidest things.

And it's also amazing how people who may not mean that well dump their crap onto someone dealing with a terminal illness.

Human nature, I guess. We're a crazy species.
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2013-07-19 16:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's an acutely awkward social interaction to participate in, from either side -- especially if one or both participants is an atheist (and hence somewhat allergic to the usual fatuous nostrums about prayer and heaven and so on).

Frankly, I've got no idea what to say to you about it other than the obvious: it really sucks, it's way too early, and I'm going to miss you.

(And ... If by some insane happenstance it turns out that the monotheists were right? My advice is to punch that asshole of a deity right on the nose for subjecting you to this shit. That's my plan, for when it's my turn.)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-07-19 16:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Frankly, I've got no idea what to say to you about it other than the obvious: it really sucks, it's way too early, and I'm going to miss you.

For me, that's about it on the nose. Plus you're being thoughtfully kind to me on the backchannel...
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Rick Moen
User: rinolj
Date: 2013-07-19 17:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You guys can go for the nose, Charlie. I'll be the recent decedent aiming something very sharp and damaging at entirely other godly parts.

(I've long said that theodicy is the low-hanging fruit of Western philosophy. Like most deceased equines, that one is, however, best not flogged in polite company, except maybe on rare occasions when you can do so with style.)
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Samantha Henderson
User: samhenderson
Date: 2013-07-19 17:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Progressively increasing, from #1 to #4 (WTF?), I apologize for my entire species.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2013-07-19 18:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It makes me furious that you have cancer. If I could cut twenty years from my life and give them to you, I would, in a heartbeat. Because... Well, because you're *you*.
K xxx
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Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2013-07-19 19:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fuck them and the mice they rode in on.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2013-07-19 20:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
How do you do the latter? And won't the SPCA complain?
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Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2013-07-19 20:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Figuratively, my dear fellow, figuratively.
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When life gives you lemmings...: Faces me: Mr. Joviality
User: danjite
Date: 2013-07-19 20:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Faces me: Mr. Joviality
But it's true- you don't sweat much for a fat guy!
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2013-07-19 20:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Dying is not hard, unlike living. But the people who say "it will be a relief to let go" do need to be asked about speaking from experience.
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mlerules: Cruella
User: mlerules
Date: 2013-07-19 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Cruella
Okay, HoneyPot. ;-P

I cannot imagine it feels very good being called suchlike, 'specially as so many more possibilities exist: such as these...
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2013-07-19 21:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You got the nomination out of sympathy."

..really? if that were true, you would have won.

Some folks just dont know how to express themselves. Others, well, they just shouldnt.. grin.
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asakiyume: Noooo!
User: asakiyume
Date: 2013-07-20 02:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Noooo!
Wow! That people would say those things gets increasingly hard to believe. Sheesh!
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madrobins
User: madrobins
Date: 2013-07-20 04:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jesus wept. These are people who are let out of the house without a keeper and a bell? (Not calling you Jake. That's silly, and a misprision, but it's not malign, intentionally or not.) My responses (not yours):

1) That's supposed to make me feel better?

2) Until then I'm going to fight like hell, if it's all the same to you.

3) Do you also kick puppies? What a pointless thing to say.
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2013-07-20 07:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What she said!
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curious Eve: wtf mate
User: curiouseve
Date: 2013-07-20 08:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:wtf mate
Fuck cancer.

I am grateful that you are writing openly about everything. It is very cool, I think.
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2013-07-20 15:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Can I still be in awe of the fact that you are typically more productive while going through chemotherapy than most people manage on their best days?

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russ: zen
User: goulo
Date: 2013-07-21 10:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:zen
FWIW, I admire how much you have accomplished - REGARDLESS of what your remaining lifetime will be. And I feel the same admiration for everyone else who has accomplished so much and is such an all-around nice cool fun good-hearted smart witty person.
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Agent Mimi
User: agent_mimi
Date: 2013-07-23 01:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The person who wrote "Your Hugo-nominated novella isn't your best work. You got the nomination out of sympathy" is someone desperately needs to deal with their personal baggage before they can interact with other human beings again.
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