I don't often get the treatment other colleagues describe at SFF conventions.  It's been a good while since I was harassed.

I don't really know why.

I have theories.  I came into prodom somewhat protected -- always around a peer group that was very connected and very assertive.  I am, in public, quite reserved; to the point where I'm probably not that Friendly Nice Author being nice in public.  I'm six feet tall.  My face has never learned to hide the things it's thinking.  I have had long-standing troubles with people trying to violate my boundaries in the past, and now when someone does so, the thing my face thinks is murder.

Honestly, I have no fucking clue why I'm so rarely a target.  And why I've been able to deal with what comes my way, so far, quite handily the second the dial hits murder.  It gives me, I'm sure, a skewed perspective on the problem.

Because I know who many of the people who do this shit are.  Rene Walling took me flat by surprise, but Jim Frenkel was someone I've known not to be around for years.  I have a whole list in the back of my head, passed ear to ear and woman writer to woman writer.  Just in case.


Okay, no: wait.  There's one guy.

A local conrunner sort, who seemed to get a little mad at me back in 2004, when I was a baby writer and made politely clear I didn't need his creepy grandfatherly guidance to find my way around my own profession.  Every few years or so he makes public comments about my tits in professional spaces.  Or tries to kiss my hand, and when I take it away, calls me bitch. Or grabs my friend's ass in a convention hallway.  Or throws a full-on tantrum because he would like a book signed, and I am daring to spend a few minutes mid-conversation with another (woman) colleague.

And then I remind him with my face and my voice and my height: murder. And he kind of skitters behind a rock for the next few years, "punishing" me with his shunning, being gloriously not my problem again.  I've been telling myself for a while, since the last time, that the next time he makes a false move I am going to finally bring the hammer down on that asshole.

This is, I realize, a missing stair situation.  I know how to deal with this guy.  He's not, to me, a major problem.

He's not a major problem to me.

Mary Robinette Kowal posted today about not posting Jim Frenkel's name in connection to his sexual harassment of Elise Matthesen at Wiscon, and all the reasons she hesitated -- all the reasons people hesitate.  They hold true.  I have not made noise about this guy because I work at the bookstore, and the bookstore maintains itself as neutral space within the community, high above everyone's slapfights, for good or ill -- and I'm starting to think it ill.  I have not made noise because he's involved with an award, and I'm pretty sure that if/when I do say something, I shut myself off from that award forever, because petty people do petty, petty things.

I have not made noise because it has, to date, just not been enough of a problem for me.

(When he grabbed my friend's ass I came very, very close.  But it was her call.)

No; that's not the whole thing.

Really, I have not made noise because I am afraid that if I do, everyone knew and no one will care.


I am thinking about the things I knew about Jim Frenkel.  I'm thinking about Elise, who I admire and respect and call friend, and how maybe if we all had a little more in the guts department when it came to the things we all know, she wouldn't have had to deal with this.

I'm thinking about benign cowardice, the not my problem sort of too busy and but I need that professional opportunity cowardice, and how it is probably the worst kind going.

I'm thinking about noise.

I know why we handle this the way we traditionally have: By warning other women in the industry who not to be near when they're drunk; who not to get stuck in the elevator next to.  But I am getting to think that we're doing ourselves a disservice, here.  Because there's a dual message that comes in, when you say Just between you and me.

It's that if you stick my head up and lay down the truth about what this guy does, everyone in the local prodom and fandom will mutter and shuffle their feet and look away and oh, look at what time it is.

I tire of our collective cowardice.  A community that does not have your back is no damn community at all.


A parting thought.  The thought I'm turning over tonight, privately:

Y'know what?  If I injure my career over reporting a harasser?  So fucking what.

I did not get into this profession to make it on the backs of my colleagues.  And I did not get into this profession to sell my morals alongside my books.
leahbobet: (gardening)
May 3, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 1,350.
Words total: 24,400.
Reason for stopping: My ears are bleeding vowels and random bits of punctuation. And besides, I am awaited by someone who has ice cream and gin drinks.

Darling du Jour: I snuck a glance over to the smokehouse, sitting empty in the distance. It looked the same as ever: thick-walled and solid, a deep-planted anchor 'round which the whole world could turn.

Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: One's secrets not being so secret at all. Being so paranoid in one's family relationships as to have insurance on your property rights.

Research Roundup: The lifespan of plastic objects, which is unfortunately not long enough for our purposes. Country dances.
Books in progress: China Mieville, Railsea

Another day of lots of words but not quite enough forward: Buckets more taking of the subtext and making it text, explaining why things are important, letting air into the prose, and so forth. Which makes for a clearer read and is important for people who like good writing (ie, me), but is not necessarily getting me forward. I would like to be forward soon. Where soon = tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

In other news: It is good to know that when I told myself, When I am a full-time writer I will totally eat all the tasty freezer soup in the freezer, I was not lying. Stuff I pre-cooked is at an all-time low. Since most if it's soup/chili/stuff I make because I have CSA vegetables that need using quicker than I can eat them, this is probably extremely healthy as well as economical.

Okay. This took all day. I'm heading out for my promised deconstructed gin floats.
leahbobet: (gardening)
May 1, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 400. (And 400 more in the evening.)
Words total: 22,650 23,050.
Reason for stopping: What I wanted out of myself today was to finish a particular scene, but [livejournal.com profile] sora_blue tempts me out of doors with the promise of grilled cheese sandwiches. Back to this when I get home. This scene's going down before bed.

Darling du Jour: The distant sound of arguing had fallen deadly quiet; everything was wind in branches, or the constant, faraway noises of river birds.

Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: N/A.
Mean Things: A plot catalyst has been located, one Hallie really would have lived happier without finding.

Research Roundup: Fish of the Detroit River.
Books in progress: China Mieville, Railsea

Totally fell off the wagon for most of the back half of April. Totally off.

I had the very best of reasons and I regret nothing.

That said, it's really good to be back on it. I get kind of restless and crabby when I feel like I'm not getting good work done and Living Up To My Potential and stuff like that, and this week's already shaping up to be a good one for the general industry. I Did Stuff (tm) today. It felt awesome.

More words tonight, likely. That, or hot chocolate and the writing of guest posts, several of which are due to various good homes.
leahbobet: (gardening)
February 26, 2012 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 600 (and then 250 more after dinner).
Words total: 18,100. 18,350.
Reason for stopping: I don't actually want to stop; it's all hot and alive in my head. But I've run out of things to add tonight.

Darling du Jour: The rage doused like it'd stumbled through a rainstorm.
Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: coalesced.
Mean Things: A confirmation that indeed, scary shit is afoot.

Research Roundup: Fiberglass composite pilings, and their lifespan.
Books in progress: China Mieville, Embassytown.

Sleepy sleepy Sunday. I am making bread, and drinking cherry rose rooibos (which I think is courtesy of Jana, from a birthday or Christmas present), and thinking what to do with beets, since I have tons of farmshare beets and need a dinner sooner or later. The inbox is tolerably tidy again. It's being one of those good Fake Freelance Lifestyle days.

The big news around the house this week: Fake Freelance Lifestyle is soon to become Real Freelance Lifestyle. Back in October, that Ontario Arts Council works in progress grant I applied for?

Well. I got it.

I will have a month more at The Dayjob, and then my job will be to write this book through the spring and summer.

And after that? Who knows? But I have this distinct feeling that it'll be one hell of an adventure.
November 29, 2011 Progress Notes:

"Five Autopsies"

Words today: 1,100.
Words total: 9,650.
Reason for stopping: Work tomorrow! Sleeeeep! Yawn!

Books in progress: Tristan Hughes, Eye Lake.

This is what we term "skating a deadline". It is not a thing we advise you to do at home. It is the late November, and as usual for this time of year, I suddenly have way too much to do, not enough hours or brainpower to do it, and that kind of fluttery feeling in my chest as all those little things to do rush at me and pixelate and fragment.

Lucky for you? I'm used to it. And it'll be tight, but it'll get done on time. This thing is well out of the place of actual creating, and into the place of sutures and string and the tying-up of the ends.

(And one of these days I need to figure out why it's always this month that explodes on me. Seriously. Half of why I never did NaNo is because which genius put it in November?)

Bed. More triple axles to pull tomorrow if this is to go according to plan.
leahbobet: (gardening)
October 16, 2011 Progress Notes:

"On Roadstead Farm"

Words today: 2600.
Words total: 12,150.
Reason for stopping: That takes me through the 40 pages I need for the arts council grant application, which I will now finish putting together for tomorrow.

Darling du Jour: "They burned," he said, and lowered his head. "They burned as they rose and they burned as they fell. They burned the road right off the land."
Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: absently, automatic.
Mean Things: Prowlers. Finding out exactly what that fight you missed yesterday was about. Being overlooked, again. People seeing things that are not apparently there. Bad things happening at previous stops on one's journey (although: Good story, Heron. Maaaan). Trapped, helpless inadequacy when you're supposed to have all the answers.

Research Roundup: Goat birthing, and what that's like. US maps, and some distance calculations. Mythology of crossroads.
Books in progress: Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't Be Jammed; Ryan Oakley, Technicolor Super Mall.

It is an unpleasant thing to think you're done something in the lovely midafternoon, and then reread the instructions, and realize that sans serif font means you're still short seven full pages. Moral, kids: Always check these things first. Oof.

That said, I'm done it now, and the goal of having two complete arts grant applications this month is pretty damn achieved. I can't say this takes me off deadline -- there's another one that's been creeping up on me while I've been preoccupied with this -- but whatever. Achievement unlocked.

Now, for printing and packaging and all that. And to hit the showers. I smell like words.


Oct. 5th, 2011 12:45 am
October 3-4, 2011 Progress Notes:

"Shine a Light"

Words today: 300.
Words total: 1050.
Reason for stopping: I had to head out. Plans!

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 500.
Words total: 3500. (Yes, more trimming of extra bits.)
Reason for stopping: That's tonight's goal. Also, it's late.

Darling du Jour: The secondhand stores spilled onto the sidewalk: racks and racks of creaking plastic hangers sat on the cracked front-yard patios as if they'd grown there, Nehru jackets and thickets of jeans pulled from the ground with them.
Mean Things: A certain degree of fakery.

Research Roundup: Slacklining: now a plot point, and I didn't even know it was a thing but for the two dudes in the park at the corner who kept practising it this summer. Cute socks at Sock Dreams for Jonah's little feets. The Daft Punk Charleston video, which is an awesome thing if you haven't seen it.
Books in progress: Caitlin Sweet, The Pattern Scars.

The short story work was last night, the Light words tonight. I just ended up out later than I thought I'd be last night, and so did not log them properly.

Tonight's words mostly concern the Charleston. For someone so desperate and contained and concerned with disappearing himself, Jonah is a Big Showoff who comes wearing Showoff Pants and dammit, he wants his entrance. Also, he fishes for compliments. But y'know what? The Charleston is cool. So I can't argue.

Busy weekend here, otherwise: Nuit Blanche, and a bachelorette party for a coworker, and a visit to a friend's DJ night at a bar down the block which turned into hanging out for 2+ hours (and me on a school night). I am not complaining. I needed to blow off a little bit of steam here. But now I have 12 days to get this thing to 40 pages, and that means work, work, work.

I will not say I'm exactly undaunted here. There is so much to do before I go to Vancouver, and there is only so much time and only so much me, and my focus keeps pixelating like a bad cable signal. But, y'know:

That's my story. I'll stick to it.
September 30, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 300.
Words total: 3025.  Trashed some leftovers out of the file again, so no, this won't match from last time.
Reason for stopping: Sleeepy. And cold, besides.

Darling du Jour: The breath caught between his teeth worked itself slowly loose.
Mean Things: Not knowing how much you're actually missing. The past-catching-up-with-you false alarm.

Research Roundup: History of the Don River; finally figuring out what that building in the park next to my first apartment is.
Books in progress: Evan Munday, The Dead Kids Detective Agency; Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.

The grant application is finished, and mailed as of last night, and I feel infinitely better about all that if a little weirdly spent: I worked up a whole synopsis for this, and it's actually a plausible one.  It has the normal hole in the last third, but hey.  It might well resemble the book I actually write.  Now, to get this up to 30+ pages for the next grant application, due mid-month.

Spates of wound-up, unhappy people continue.  In fact, they have worsened.  It may well just be That Week (tm).

Tonight, however, was the annual Counting of the Bookstore (aka inventory), and was spent with friends, eating pizza and counting books.  It wasn't the kind of record finish we've had in previous years, but [livejournal.com profile] dolphin__girl and I quite humbly kicked some ass and took a few names.  It's nice to know that being able to inventory a bookstore the fastest will go down as one of my skills on the eventual headstone.

One wonders how it got to be October.
September 28, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 200.
Words total: 2875.
Reason for stopping: My back hurts. A lot.

Darling du Jour: The wild water-girl came out of the woods, dripping rivers in her wake.

Mean Things: N/A.
Research Roundup: Species of lily, and how spendy they are at local florists; etymologies of some river names; a few Cantonese etymologies.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.

Most of my effort tonight has gone to prepping a workable proposal-style synopsis of this, so I can ask some kindly organizations for some grant money and then write it. If you have never written a synopsis of a book you haven't written yet, I assure you it's a whole different kind of beast than the synopsis you write about the book you've already finished.

But it seems to be working, weirdly enough: a bunch of plot fell into place, and a bunch of images added up very kindly to Something. And then the whole thing came together in a flare of logic which I think might -- might! -- just work.

So. Sometimes brute force does go your way.

That said, I have been around way too many wound-up and unhappy people today, and my shoulders are wired like a bomb. Going to run a long, hot bath.
September 19, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 275.
Words total: 1350. No, it doesn't match. I frogged a couple paragraphs.
Reason for stopping: This is what happens when you stay up late watching all-night deputations to Council's Executive Committee. Such are the wages of municipal nerdery.

Darling du Jour: Three blackened dots along the inside of her left forearm, where she'd hugged a century-old girder and the massive iron rivets pressed hard into her skin.

Mean Things: The kinds of bruises that are going to make even strangers want to ask who's been hitting you. Sleeping 48 hours straight and not knowing where those two days went.
Research Roundup: Construction of 1920s buildings; how dark bruises on your neck actually get.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.

I am trying this in present tense. Nothing seems to be objecting so far.

The fun volunteer gig of Sunday was indeed fun: I spent the afternoon alternately manning the Not Far From the Tree info desk and helping wash, chop, grind, and press apples into cider at City Cider, at the Spadina Museum. Let me tell you, working on a demo of cider-pressing under a big blue sky and apple trees, with a nice crisp breeze and music, chatting with the other volunteers all afternoon? That is not work in the slightest. That is hanging out and playing with a cider press.

Also we got to drink some of the leftovers. The benefits cannot be overstated.

Today was rainy and crappy from dawn to midnight, so today I slept in, stayed in, and puttered around the house. Potato salad and honey walnut cake got made. Apple rings will come out of the dehydrator in the morning. Ideomancer duties were done. Three (3) author interviews/guest posts were written up and dispatched, and some receipts filed, and most of my inbox cleared. And then I got sucked into watching Council and there went the rest of the evening, but it was still and all a reasonably productive day considering I never got out of my pajamas.

Tomorrow there must be out: there is some extra yarn to exchange, and a new bedside lamp to buy, and other little things. Vacation continues to be more productive and less stressful than dayjobbing. There's a moral in that, I suppose.

To bed.
September 14, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 450.
Words total: 450.
Reason for stopping: Sleeeeeep.

Darling du Jour: Down there: the highway, like an opened vein, and the river, invisible in the trees.

Mean Things: As ever, until I get past a beginning on this, suicide.
Research Roundup: Human terminal velocity; height of the Bloor Viaduct.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.
The glamour: One day I will trade in my brain for one that sleeps at night instead of pacing circles and cooking up prose.

You do not want to know at what time on this calendar day I actually wrote these words. Let's just say that it takes more than a paragraph floating through my head to get me out of bed and to the computer at that hour.

Whatever; I reread them just now, while I'm...well, I can't say I'm awake, but I'm differently tired. And they're good. So it was worth it.

Otherwise, tonight Shark Week Authoring Week continues on Discovery: attended the Sunburst Award presentation, and then swung by the Chiaroscuro Reading Series to see if anyone was still hanging out, since I missed the reading proper (they were). This all scored me two review copies of books I have wanted, for the low low price of free. I am actively relishing cracking them open on the weekend.

For now, bed is pending. Bed misses me. I miss it too.
September 12, 2011 Progress Notes:

As-yet-untitled Shadow Unit DVD extra

Words today: 850, spread over a few days.
Words total: 850.
Reason for stopping: Draft.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.
The glamour: Tonight there were four social/volunteer engagements I probably could have gone to (and maybe should have), but convention weekends, as fun as they are, do kind of take it out of me. So I blew off everything and stayed in to work on Ideomancer stuff and arts grant applications all evening. And to finish writing this.

Arts grants applications have many moving parts. Tonight's work marathon was, in hindsight, a really, really good idea.

Can-Con was, in sum, small and tidy and quite a good time: everyone was really pleasant, the quality of the panel discussion (both the ones I was on and the ones I went to see) was really high -- there was a future of urban environments panel that any Toronto public space dork would have been happy to see -- and I have remembered that I like trains. They are very civilized. Also, I got to have quality time with [livejournal.com profile] kafkonia, [livejournal.com profile] deakat (who is a hero of the revolution for collecting me from the VIA station at 10:30 Friday night, dishevelled as I was), and [livejournal.com profile] monkeyman.

Saw a grand total of nothing of Ottawa, and missed seeing [livejournal.com profile] commodorified due to mishap, but I was in town for maybe 43 hours, and sometimes it can't be helped.

So that was that.

In other news, I've been slowly but steadily getting interview requests from bloggers interested in Above, and one of them has gone up this week at Spanish blog Soy Cazadora de Sombras y Libros. I link this one partially because I'm so floored by the dedication here: when so many people don't bother to read in their first language, loving books enough to read, and blog about it, and be an active participant in book culture in one's second or third language? Hardcore respect.

And that is about it for tonight, since tomorrow there is volunteer flyering early in the a.m., a gauntlet of book events in the p.m., and for all things must I be functional and awake.
After eight years, I decided maybe it wasn't the best idea anymore to have my professional journal named after the elf from that MUD I was playing when I was fourteen.*

Which is to say that this LJ has been renamed to better reflect my more boring, bespectacled, round-ears self. I do this with a bit of sadness**, since I still remember when [livejournal.com profile] merriehaskell was fairmer and [livejournal.com profile] cmpriest was wicked_wish. But it was kinda time.

The $15 I just paid LJ for the privilege should ensure that there's an automatic forward on links, but y'know. Adjust links accordingly etc. etc.

And in other news, I know I owe you guys a couple Iron Chef Farmshare posts, and will be doing that tonight or tomorrow morning. Honest.

*True fact, that. Also, if anyone's looking for me under that name by now, they've been trying for a really long time and probably won't be by.

**Prufrockian sadness, even!
leahbobet: (gardening)
June 29, 2011 Progress Notes:

"On Roadstead Farm"

Words today: 200.
Words total: 3200.
Reason for stopping: It's almost one in the morning, and it is a work night. A little is better than nothing.

Darling du Jour: The cistern hugged it like a newborn rabbit nestling against the light, a small tower built of scavenged tin and our Papa's own ingenuity.
Words Hallie Won't Admit to Knowing: Nothing today, actually.

Mean Things: A touch of the ol' PTSD. And maybe I'm being mean to fantasy tropes too, but I don't think we can disagree with that.
Research Roundup: A few more basic German words; the texture of hulled barley, for which I will probably just have to go to the health food store and pet barley.

Books in progress: Darren O'Donnell, Your Secrets Sleep With Me.
The glamour: Farmshare! An invitation to cool secret back-alley Shakespeare! And then a walk down to Kensington with Dr. My Roommate, because it was nice out and she needed stuff for stew. My feet have some glamorous blisters.

I think I am internalizing my editor.

Me: *typitytypity* That's a nice phrase.
Also Me: What's that mean, though? How's a soldier's sunburn different from a farmer's sunburn?
Me: Um.
Also Me: Most of these dudes were farmers anyway before they got scooped up to go to war.
Me: *attempts to find convoluted logic to justify pretty phrase*
Also Me: That's a lot of gymnastics, and it isn't working.
Me: It's pretty.
Also Me: I know.
Me: I could just leave it there, and screw the logic. I've gotten away with that before.
Also Me: Some editor will just call you on it. Actually, you know which one. She lives in New York.
Me: And then I could delay this decision until she does!
Also Me: You'd still have to fix it. Just fix it now.
Me: No, I could say "Too bad with your logic" and keep it.
Also Me: You'd also be wrong.
Me: Damn.

Moral of the day: It's the same damn sunburn. And this is what having a novel go through the professional editing process does to you.
You may know that for the past four years, I've been the Support Staffer at the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, as was my father [livejournal.com profile] ccfinlay before me.

That is, unfortunately, coming to an end. I'm getting busier and busier, and there is no real end in sight, and something had to give, and it was this. So I've given in my resignation to the workshop.

What does that mean for you, though? It means they're hiring.

Our current OWW support go-to person and mailing list moderator, Leah Bobet, is moving on from OWW (darn, everyone we hire goes and sells their novels!). So the Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy, and Horror is seeking a new point person. This is a paid position that varies from 5-10 hours per month, with occasional special projects possible in addition. Qualities we require:

--friendly, supportive, helpful attitude
--clear & polite e-mail style, since most interaction is by e-mail (also see above)
--ability to direct and support beginning members & reviewers using OWW site tools
--mature and careful mailing-list moderation
--ability to follow the OWW discussion lists and provide enrichment and encouragement to ongoing discussions
--recognizing when an issue needs to come to the attention of OWW HQ for further action or action approval
--minimum of one year's experience as an active OWW member contributing both submissions and reviews

Skills & competencies we would also like to see:

--Familiarity with Yahoo! Groups and its moderation tools
--Basic HTML
--Some experience with promotional writing, advertising, SF/F promotion

Dream-on wish list:

--Ability to program in Rails
--Goes to lots of SF/F conventions
--Familiar with many of the workshop members already
--Enjoys making spreadsheets to figure things out

Access/time requirements: daily monitoring of OWW discussion mailing lists; checking and replying to OWW support e-mail address at least 4x/week; monitoring workshop reviews and associated followup at least 1x/week.

Start date: immediately upon hiring

Paid training period: 3 weeks working under tutelage of Leah Bobet

Pay rate: $20 US per hour to start, $25 US per hour after 6-month trial period

If interested, submit resume and letter of application to ekh (AT) onlinewritingworkshop (DOT) com by May 15.

Spread the word, yo.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Tonight and tomorrow afternoon, I will be writing the acknowledgments page for Above.

I think I got everyone. But it's been a long haul on this project, and I'm not sure, and I don't want to miss people or exclude them.

If you should be on this page? Please do not be shy, and tell me so. Comments are screened.
Line edits have developed a rhythm. I go for the easy things first, the low-hanging fruit; the changes I don't mind making or know most definitely that I won't be making. I work through a whole chapter, go back, pick at the other stuff until it frustrates me and I'm out of tea and avoidant and annoyed and magically rediscovering the urge to scrub out my bathtub or reorganize my kitchen cupboards.

Then I go back a day or two later and magically, those hard things are all easy.

I don't know if it's the absence of information overload (less red ink = easier!) or if reading the chapter through again helps set the newer shape of it, and so the bigger changes or thinky bits are easier to fit in when there's a more cohesive whole. But it seems to work. Let it sit and I can finish.

So the shape of my revising evenings now looks like this: do the second or third pass on the last chapter, vacuuming out all the hard things. Take a short break. Do the first pass on the next chapter, until it frustrates me and I'm out of tea and avoidant. Put it the hell away.

I am starting to pick out some of my editor's tendencies (she likes but vs. and and is trying to drive the general pacing faster, kick the whole thing up by 10 mph). I am starting to notice very sharply some of my own (describe everything, little things, big things; start the narration of an incident at the middle or end, and then double back to explain). This has all kind of been impressively educational.

No, I am not finished yet.

In another part of the world, here's [livejournal.com profile] jimhines on readership, fandom, the Internet, and how they overlap (or don't). I endorse this theory entirely, and there's good stuff in the comments too.

In yet another, this band is good even if their video is terrible. Have some:


Nov. 12th, 2010 12:56 pm
This morning I was going to make one of those long, reasoned, essay-style posts about this, and some discussions I've had in person and online recently about professionalism, credentialism, and the weird, threatened reaction a lot of writers/editors at all levels seem to have towards self-publishing and NaNoWriMo and the like, which is only equalled by the weird, threatened reaction that a lot of beginning or self-published writers seem to have towards professional publishing and those who work in it at any capacity.

It would have been elegant and explained its terms and employed both data and anecdata, and the writing of it would have eaten up my entire lunch hour today.

I want to hang out with my workfriends with what's left of my lunch instead, so I will not write that post. I will write this thing shorter.

Let's be straight here.

The way I see it, the problem isn't that self-published authors actually! make people think! they're as good as you! or that those uptight, pursed-lips, stick-up-the-butt New York writers are such! elitist! bastards! or that some other person is standing in the way of your dream, rightful realization thereof, or rightful recognition due to, from any perspective, while you can merely wring your hands and weep a single, 1970s Native American TV commercial-style tear because that other guy is somehow so all-powerful that their shadow blocks out the sun.

That's just the bullshit on top. Nobody actually has that much power over your life, and you, generic non-individualized reader, know it deep down. The problem actually is the little voices in your head with which the accusation of you're doing it wrong resonates. The problem is that those voices can achieve a resonance hum even when someone isn't accusing you of doing it wrong. All they have to be doing is doing something differently, and looking like they're enjoying it.

The problem is you don't actually think you're cool.

This will sound arrogant -- and, y'know, maybe the problem is that it sounds arrogant, and there's a whole sociocultural essay in that -- but: it wasn't a novel sale that made me cool. It wasn't getting an agent, and it wasn't Year's Best reprints or editing a magazine or knowing the "right" people or learning the skills to talk to people at overcrowded smelly convention parties or whatever. Something didn't drop down from the sky and anoint me cool. I have been dead cool since the day I first put pen to paper hands to keyboard. What anyone else thinks about my coolness on these matters is purely secondary.

Or, to put that in less smartassed terms?

I know my worth. And -- more importantly -- I know the worth of my work, and I believe in my work: not that it's unconditionally good or that it doesn't make mistakes, or that I am unconditionally good or that I don't make mistakes because hoo boy, I make mistakes like there's a Girl Scout badge for messing up and I've got one space left on my uniform. But I believe my work and I both are always improving. I am rock-certain of that. How do I know that?

Because I work to improve them. Because I was worse before, and now I'm better, and tomorrow I will be better still. I know that.

So what other people think about it? Not so big a deal, really. I live in my head. I know that head better than they do, and I know I'm cool.

What other people do with their time, even and especially if it's different from what I do?

Wholly immaterial.

Here's the other thing I posit, and I bet it can be backed up with evidence.

You're cool too.

You are most likely better -- at writing, at knitting, at dancing, at your job, at looking for a job, at being a spouse or significant other, at driving a car, at planting a seed, at doing your taxes, at writing an essay, at changing a lightbulb or a tire or a fuse, at being a generous or kind person, at living -- than you were in the past. You will likely get better at these things, any of them, all of them, in the future, even without that little bit of targeted elbow grease and spot of determination, although those things make it go faster. That makes you cool, and you have been dead cool since the day you first took that deep breath and tried something new; since you first expressed the willingness to be better at a thing than you were yesterday with the glimmer of something, someone that is more in your eye.

You're super, mega, ultra-cool. And the only thing more dispiriting than cool people being cruel or dismissive or belittling to other cool people is seeing cool people be cruel or dismissive or belittling to themselves: telling themselves they aren't actually cool enough. That they have to tear someone else down to be cool. That other people being cool differently is discomfiting, devaluing, a threat.

It's not. And you don't have to. And you always, always were.

I mean, don't you ever get tired of feeling so threatened?

Ever considered not letting that feeling win this time, or the next?

(And I have used up my lunch hour anyway. O well.)

I should just go to the coffeeshop to work in the first place. Yesterday? I faffed around, managed about 15 pages, took two (2) naps (okay, I think I'm fighting a cold or sleep debt or something here. I felt seriously unwell yesterday) and still crawled off to bed early. Today? Went out to the patio at Aroma with the laptop to soak up some of the nice weather, and blew through sixty (yes, that's 60) pages in three and a half hours.

Tomorrow I will just go to the coffeeshop.

Also, note the stunning and crisp picture quality off the camera in my new cellphone. *smug*

For our next trick, Dr. My Roommate and I shall head out to see one of her friends play a bossa nova set over on Markham. Because sixty (60!) pages of revising in one afternoon means you earn the right to be out in Society a little bit.

November 2016

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