September 11th, 2007


[poll] LOLJay Contest Voting Poll

It's time for the LOLJay Contest voting poll. As of now, the contest entry phase is closed. (Feel free to make more LOLJay images, but they won't be added to the poll.) The usual rules apply — vote for your favorite, lobby your friends to stuff the ballot for you, watch the totals pile up, etc. Ties to be setted by the_child.

First prize will be an arc of Escapement. I don't have 'em yet, but when I do the LOLJay winner will be one of the first people to get a chance to read the book. Second prize will be the winner's choice of any of my other books.

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I will also throw into both prizes a random book from my library, probably a recent hardback I've finished reading. Also, both winners will be Tuckerized in an upcoming short story, details to be announced.

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[process] Blind faith and the working writer

I've often commented that for me the validation writing comes from within. I've also often commented that while publishing is a meritocracy, it's not a just meritocracy. Despite my principles, I sometimes surrender to the green-eyed twins of jealousy and envy. Specifically, I spent most of yesterday convinced of my own mediocrity, and blew a planned four-hour writing session because I felt like the effort was pointless.

Now, I know better. I know better for writers in general, and I know better for me. Still, like everyone, stress sometimes leaves me flat. the_child was in the E.R. last week, as was another close family member. The kiddo started school, with all the stress that entails for her. I am in the post-novel phase with respect to Escapement. Yadda yadda yadda.

The trick is recognizing that I'm merely bumping the wall. That's not a hard trick for me now, but I have piles of external validation to remind me what I'm about. Pre-career or early-career, it would have been a lot different trying to see the forest for the trees.

The point of this post? To remind myself, and anyone else who's interested, that you can have vapor lock at any rung on the career ladder. One of my great gifts as both a writer and a human being is that I tend to quickly recover from hard bounces. If I had to stay in that vapor lock for days, weeks or months, I don't know how I'd cope. But I'd find a way.

Still, it catches us all. Sometimes it helps to have blind faith in one's own work.

[links] Link Salad for lunch

A reader, not so much with the love for Mainspring Powell's | Amazon ].

The human genome appears to respond to changes in diet, on an evolutionary time scale

HP develops inkjet vaccinations

100,000 dpi printing — This is a very SFnal technology, in my book.

Lawsuit over lost luggage

Patriot Day — Political snark from the admirable slacktivist.

Paul Krugman reviews Jon Chait's book The Big Con Powell's | Amazon ] — Money shot:

Quite simply, if you point out character flaws in a conservative, there will be an all-out effort, involving major media as well as blogs and talk radio, to discredit and ruin you, personally. This just doesn't happen on the other side.

So journalists feel that it's safe to ridicule Democrats, even if the supposed character-defining episode never happened; they choke up and shy away when it comes to Republicans. That's why even the most grotesque stuff, like Giuliani's claim that he's a rescue worker too, or Romney's remark that his sons are serving the country by helping him become president, doesn't get picked up.

Salon interviews the author of the recent Bush biography Dead Certain Powell's | Amazon ] — Money shot:

In place of the dimwitted boogeyman of the left and the resolute hero of the right, Draper introduces a three-dimensional man full of contradictions.

The "Arab World" — Commentary on our approach to post-9/11 politics, with a reminder of how it could have been under a sane and competent presidency. Money shot:

Sept. 11 was a hinge in history, a fork in the road. It presented us with a choice. We could find out who attacked us, surgically defeat them, address the underlying problems in the Middle East, and make use of the outpouring of global sympathy to pull the rest of the world closer to us. Or we could lash out blindly and self-righteously, insist that the only problems in the Middle East were created by "extremists," demonize an entire culture and make millions of new enemies.