April 16th, 2012


[links] Link salad rings like a bell through the night

Mur Lafferty writes a letter to her daughter — Beautiful and tough.

Making Education Brain Science

Fantasy flying boat art — Mmm.

A Startup Puts the Internet in Your Couch Cushions

The love affair of William Francis Gibbs (Fortune, 1957) — A man and his ship.

Unanswered Questions in F.C.C.’s Google Case — This is interesting, and a little alarming.

The Science of Why They Deny Science -- and RealityHe writes early on and illustrates throughout it's not that liberals or independents are always right about science, it's that, lately, conservatives are wrong a lot. From all outward appearances they often seem to be sincerely unaware of how wrong they are. At times they can even make a good faith effort to grasp why they're wrong and still fail. The book also introduced something new, at least for me, called the smart idiot effect: the more educated conservatives are, the more sure they are about their false beliefs.

G.O.P. Lawmakers and Romney Face a Delicate TangoIf Mitt Romney is considering a quick pivot to the center as he heads into the general election, he will find an imposing impediment: fellow Republicans in the House. I can't help but be amused by this. And the more the national GOP bows to pressure from their hard right, the more they drive away undecided voters, centrists, moderates, women, Latinos and pretty much anyone else with either a heart or a brain. So go, go, Republican congress!

?otd: Would you stay if she promised you heaven? Will you ever win?

Writing time yesterday: n/a (cancer stress)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 (fitful)
Weight: 239.6
Currently reading: Somewhere Else by Sally McLennan


[interviews] Me in the Sunday Oregonian

The Sunday Oregonian ran with their feature length profile of me yesterday, by reporter Jeff Baker. The online version can be read here. Also, a bonus video interview with me can be see at that link.

Participating in the development of that profile was an interesting process. This was straight journalism, so the reporter was developing his own story rather than reflecting written responses from me, as often happens when I'm interviewed in the genre. Over the course of a month or two, we visited in person twice, had several phone calls and a number of email exchanges. The second time he came to my house, the reporter brought a photographer from the newspaper as well. I've never been interviewed in such depth before.

Another thing that was different about this interview is the focus on cancer and my life with it. Those are important parts of my experience, that I often lead with when talking about myself in other public contexts, but it was interesting to see how Jeff cast me. I think of myself as a writer who happens to have cancer. The piece in the paper pointed in almost exactly the opposite direction.

Do I object to this? Not in the slightest. The Oregonian is aiming at a general interest audience with a Pacific Northwest regional focus. The way I'm handling my cancer is almost certainly a more interesting and distinctive story for them to cover than simply talking about my books. It was just a view I'd never taken of myself, and as such, pretty interesting to see.

By that same token, this interview will reach a relatively large number of people whom I would ordinarily almost never be able to reach. People who have little to no overlap with my genre colleagues, readers and fans. So for at least a few minutes yesterday, I was on the minds of a whole bunch of readers well outside my usual splash zone. That's pretty neat.

And honestly, the response to the interview via Facebook and Twitter and my blogs has been gratifying. I'm glad this has had an impact on friends and strangers alike.

Does it mean more than some dozens of column-inches in the paper? Heck if I know. I'm just very pleased and grateful to have had the opportunity to tell my story in such a forum.


[cancer|child] Playing Russian roulette with Schrödinger's tumor

Today I am off to play Russian roulette with Schrödinger's tumor. Schrödinger's tumor would, of course, be the previously identified but uncharacterized lesion in my right hepatic lobe which we will carefully observe today via bloodwork and CT scan. Much like the cat in the box, the act of observation will resolve its state.

Mind you, my quanta are not in danger of collapse. The metaphor only stretches so far, after all. This is the nature of metaphors. Unfortunately I can't say the same for my emotional processes.

From a writing perspective, I have been useless since last Thursday. This is as discussed. Unfortunate but not surprising, and not ultimately damaging to my productivity or deadlines. Mostly it wounds my pride.

From a life perspective, I'd resolved after my meltdown of the weekend before last that this past week would be a time where I didn't make any major life decisions and didn't engage in any difficult emotional terrain. Unfortunately, not everyone around me got the memo. So there was a fair amount of static from various quarters in a week when my emotional radio was particularly ill-tuned.

From a parenting perspective, everything got very difficult last night. I'd just come back from a long, early dinner with [info]mlerules at Ken's Artisan Pizza. (Mmm. Not the best gourmet pizza in town, but still pretty darned good.) [info]the_child and her mother had just come back from a party celebrating the life of her friend's mother who'd passed away of cancer about this time last year. She popped into my half of Nuevo Rancho Lake and began asking me some very direct, mature questions about my cancer status, what I expected from today's scan and Wednesday's oncology appointments, when I expected I might die and how the cancer would actually kill me. We then talked about her thoughts about what she would do for herself if I passed away of this in the next few years.

It was a sensible, thoughtful and loving conversation. It broke my heart all over again to have this conversation with my fourteen year old daughter.

Today, the scans. My friend A— is taking me. Wednesday, the oncology follow-ups. [info]lizzyshannon is taking me if she's sufficiently recovered from her recent surgical adventures. Things being the way they are with my hospital, I'll likely know both the bloodwork results and the scan results sometime tomorrow.

Then we'll see if I'm back in hell for another year, or if I get a few more month's reprieve. And we'll know a bit more about how to answer [info]the_child's question of when I am going to die.

I am so afraid.