March 26th, 2013


[links] Link salad gives a lecture today

The First 10 Pages: Science Fiction & Fantasy Boot Camp: 3/26/13 - 3/28/13 — Starting today, I'm co-teaching an online course from Writers Digest University on novel beginnings. This will led by writer (and friend) Phil Athans, with assistance from agent Carlie Webber and myself.

Nerd Nite #1: Sex, Dying, and the FUTURE! — A reminder, I'll be talking about cancer and genomics this evening in Portland.

An 110-Year-Old Rejection Letter — Old school. (Snurched Steve Buchheit.)

Munsell, the man who colored AmericaHow a Boston argument over better crayons ended up repainting the world. (Via Daily idioms, Annoated

Scientists Castrate Iberian Lynx to Prevent them from Extinction

Humans blamed for ancient bird species extinctions

Cool dam — Speculative landscape?

Windfarm Sickness — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Photographer Joe McNally Takes Photo From Top Of Burj Khalifa, World's Tallest Skyscraper, In Dubai — Gah!

How best to clean out satellites before they become space garbageLooking at options for quick and safe de-orbiting.

Marketing Deal Gives a Small Town an Identity Crisis — Dish, baby. (Thanks to Dad.)

Gender and Bathroom Graffiti

Unfit for WorkThe startling rise of disability in America. Speaking as someone who will have to go on disability for a while as I near end-of-life with my cancer, this piece misses a lot of the point. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

The Day I Taught How Not to Rape — Sigh. (Via [info]wild_irises.)

What If There Had Been Weapons Programs in Iraq? — Not that there were. (Facts not valid for FOX News viewers and other willful idiots.) Of course, as any Republican can tell you, presidential lies about trillion dollar wars of choice are much less important that presidential lies about blow jobs.

QotD?: What are you going to learn today?

Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett


[cancer] Chemo series four, session two


Yesterday, Lisa Costello, [info]the_child and I went to the hospital for my chemotherapy session. This series is light artillery indeed compared to what we've done in the past, but it still took three hours to get in and out of there. That was also the first time [info]the_child had been with me during a chemo session. Now she knows it's mostly boring.

Afterwards, there was an impromptu family dinner attended by a number of us, but not quite the whole clan. There I bestowed upon my sister (a/k/a [info]lilypond) my ICFA badge, which Neil Gaiman had most graciously signed for her. (His inscription is funny as heck, too.)

Photo © 2013, Lisa Costello

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[cancer|writing] The road goes on forever, and the party never ends

I have very mixed feelings about my weekend at ICFA. Not at the professional level, wherein I had a gloriously fine time at the conference. Nor at the social level, see above. But at the level of internal reflection and how I experience things through the cancer lens.

I still haven't sorted out what I thought and felt while there. It's complicated. So, in no particular order...

Meeting and talking to a lot of students, facing a lot of life choices, reminded me that so many of my own choices are shutting down or being cut off due to my mortality. This really isn't a feeling I have experienced prior to the cancer. Even as I've aged (relatively speaking, I'm only 48), I've always seen myself as having copious professional and personal choices. Not so much, now, not with the commitments I have. Some of those commitments are joyous, being parent to [info]the_child, for example; and some of those commitments are reasonable, such as my Day Jobbe career. But mostly I'm committed to this path of mortality which already restricts the kinds of plans I can make and dreams I can work on, and promises to soon restrict those much more tightly, until eventually they contract into the narrow point of my death.

Likewise, seeing a number of old friends and making some new ones in the process kept reinforcing my sense of being on a Farewell Tour. As I said the other day, while this might well be true, it's not a helpful mindset. Yet there I was. Melancholy set in pretty hard.

My tolerance for social static and disruption is leaching away. Likewise my patience. I do not like these trends in myself. I've always aspired to be a good listener, a good friend, understanding about the challenges of human nature. As my illness evolves, I become more and more inwardly focused, which makes me less and less of those things.

I gave away or ditched most of my free books from the conference. I found myself explicitly thinking, "No, I cannot have more stuff at home." I'm giving things away, not taking them in. Given my lifelong natural tendencies to be a hoarder, this is another dying kind of thought. My joy in stuff has almost vanished, taking with it much of my desire. These days when I look at books, one of my key thoughts is, "Will I live long enough to read it?" That's not me, that kind of thought. Except now it is.

Meanwhile, cool things keep happening. I signed a nice little subsidiary rights contract yesterday which I'll be able to announce soon. There's various other bits of good news coming down the pike in my writing life shortly. I'm about to start writing Original Destiny, Manifest Sin. That online course I'm teaching starts today, and I'm giving a science lecture tonight. Friendships and loves bubble along, I still put my own socks on every day. There's plenty to live for on a day-to-day basis. But the sadness keeps creeping in.

The road may go on forever, but I can see the end of the party from here.