May 12th, 2010


[links] Link salad wonders what ever happened to the Children of the Sun

The dust jacket for my forthcoming The Specific Gravity of Grief — The book is a single-title novella from Fairwood Press, about the internal emotional experience of having cancer. And yes, in its way, it's genre.

Violent but Charming — The Dictionary of Old English explores the brutality and elegance of our ancestral tongue. (Via goulo.)

Houston Art Cars — (Thanks to goulo.)

US cancer costs double in nearly 20 years — Hey, it's keeping me alive.

Nathan Myhrvold: Could this laser zap malaria? — (Thanks to lt260.)

SMBC takes on the 'perfect copy' problem — Heh.

Warm ‘Saturns’ and Their Moons — More exoplanetary goodness from Centauri Dreams. Heads up, you skiffy types.

Judicial Experience Matters -- Except When it Doesn't — More principled consistency from Your Republican Party.

?otD: Would you get on the flying saucer if they stopped and asked?

Writing time yesterday: none (chemo)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.5 (so-so)
This morning's weigh-in: 233.4
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 6/10 (emotional stress, GI)
Currently (re)reading: Making Money by Terry Pratchett (on the iPad 3G)


[cancer] Current state and looking forward

Yesterday I was deeply exhausted. As bad as chemo Sunday. I may have caught some of calendula_witch's cold, for one thing. For another, there has been significant pre-teen/parent emotional chaos around here, which is (to put it mildly) extraordinarily draining for me. Lower GI function has sort of caught up, but we're at Wednesday with no Shedding Day activity yet, which may not bode well.

Several folks have asked me when the chemotherapy will be over, and what I'll get back. Much like the chemo side effects themselves, I expect recovery to come in stages.

My last chemo session is currently scheduled for June 18th to June 20th. If my blood chemistry wonks out too much between now and then, it may be postponed a week or two. (In point of fact, my blood chemistry has held up surprisingly well thus far.) I expect some side effects to lessen noticeably within 2-3 weeks of that last infusion date, including the extreme fatigue and the continual lower GI distress. Others, such as my immune system issues, will trail out for a month or two. I think I'll be more-or-less normal by September, including lifting the last of my toxicity restrictions.

Energy. Time. Focus. Lack of discomfort. (This isn't a particularly painful process, not in the sense that surgery is painful, but it is amazingly uncomfortable.) I cannot wait to be somewhat myself again. But for now, I have to be who I am until I'm done.


[cancer|process] Writer's block, or energy block?

I am experiencing something much akin to writer's block these days. Which is really ticking me off.

Longtime readers will be familiar with the fact that I almost never experience writer's block. I can be held up for a day or so on a difficult point in a story. I can be distracted by an overwhelming emotional or life experience. But I've never had that feeling of sitting down, staring at the screen, and sweating for the words to come. If a piece is stalled, I just work on something else. Words have always flowed like water for me. It's been one of my gifts as a writer, perhaps one of my core gifts.

What I am going through now isn't writer's block in the stare-at-the-screen sense, not precisely. The words are in there. I have a novel to revise, a novel to write, a Sekrit Projekt to complete, a novella to revise, random short story ideas on almost a daily basis. They bubble, to the point now of frustrating me, a lot.

What I don't have is energy.

Up until about the beginning of April, I was writing at a pretty good clip, even for chemotherapy. But since I completed the first draft of "The Stars Do Not Lie", I've been having a hell of a time finding focus and energy to work on more. I've slipped in a little bit of revision on older pieces that had been languishing, and done some Writing Related Program Activities around getting stories out to market, answering interviews and whatnot. All of that is a kind of short-burst productivity I can do without extended periods of deep focus.

At this point in my chemotherapy cycle, by the time I'm done with the Day Jobbe, I'm pretty much done with the day. I've lost the 3-5 pm time slot I was using to write in. My sleep needs have piled up more with the accumulating fatigue, so I've lost the 3-5 am time slot I was also sometimes using. Basically, the world is closing in, and taking my time with it. That I lost three of my 'free' weekends in a row through March and April to various medical issues in my family was no help either.

My current plan is to service my deadline projects in the upcoming weekend time, and try to hammer out at least a little daytime writing. I can do a lot by sheer force of will. But I cannot do everything. Meanwhile, this damned block has got me for the first time since I've become a pro.

This might be the thing that pisses me off the most about chemo. That cancer and the drugs have stolen my creative time and space away from me.