Jan 25 2013

Back amongst the biographies


I really must catch up on some serious writing!

I lost a certain amount of time in the run-up to Arisia, and at Arisia, and now some extra post-Arisia biz. It was decided that we judges should provide the contest winners with some actual feedback, so I was up late last night attempting to manifest sagacity, gentility, laser-like analytical brilliance, and kind-heartedness simultaneously. I don’t know if I managed all that, but I did enjoy the process. Plus: I’m smarter at night, and I miss being up in the small hours to witness my own smartitude. Alas, the DayJob forces me to be conscious in the morning, at the sacrifice of the deeps of the night.

I did manage to write a bit at the convention:

12-year-old Oban?   14-year-old Oban?   I forget.  Good, though.

A little single-malt to lubricate the gears.


And of course, hanging with pals is half the point of a convention:


This guy is everywhere.   Everywhere, I tell you!

The famous Jeff Carver of famed Jeff-Carverdom.


Yeah, here’s his website.   And this is his blog.  Check out his books!

Yikes.   I’ve spent too much time blogging, and not enough actually writing.   Gotta go —

But first, your obligatory random quote:

“It now seems odd and almost incredible that while in [T.E.] Lawrence’s company, I should have said nothing about Thomas Hardy.  How, I wonder, did I get through the evening without it somehow transpiring that I was on the eve of an inaugural visit to Max Gate?  How, on the other hand, could I have guessed that Lawrence honored him — as I did — beyond any other living writer (although it was not until 1923 that he became, probably, the most admired and valued friend of Hardy’s last years)?  My own association with Max Gate had begun early in 1917, when I wrote to ask Hardy to accept the dedication of The Old Huntsman.  In doing this, I had been encouraged by my uncle Hamo Thornycroft’s having known him for many years, and by the fact that Mr. Gosse had assured me that the request would give pleasure to ‘True Thomas,’ as he called him.”    

Sigfried’s Journey 1916-1920, by Sigfreid Sassoon, Viking Press, 1946

I’m sorry.   When Hamo Thornycroft’s name came up, I could not stop laughing.   Forgive me.


Everyone suddenly burst out singing; And I was filled with such delight As prisoned birds must find in freedom, Winging wildly across the white Orchards and dark-green fields; on--on--and out of sight.  Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted; And beauty came like the setting sun: My heart was shaken with tears; and horror Drifted away ... O, but Everyone Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Famed in his time, which was a time of war.

Jan 22 2013

And now for our daily affirmation…


Jan 14 2013

Doing my bit for the future SF authors of America


Did I mention I’m going to Arisia?

Took me by surprise, too, as I hadn’t originally planned to.    But I was asked to serve as one of the judges in Arisia’s student writing contest, and voila!  Now I’m going.

So I have my head buried in these manuscripts, trying to rank them.   I’m almost done.   There aren’t that many, so it’s not too onerous, but it is an interesting exercise, all around.

I am much encouraged that these young writers are out there, dreaming their dreams and daring to write them down…



Jan 12 2013

Because reasons!


In my friend Ann Zeddies’ blog,  she refers to something that happened “…For what my father’s elderly German friend used to describe as ‘too many circumstances.’ I think this was the pre-internet version of ‘because reasons!'”

I found myself reminded that I do enjoy  the phrase “Because reasons!” when it appears.  It must do so appropriately, of course.

The reasons must be either:

  1. too many to enumerate; or
  2. so glaringly obvious that  in our fast-paced 21st century, it simply isn’t worth stopping the fascinating futuristic things we’re doing  to write down something that everybody who’s anybody already knows; or
  3. none of your beeswax



Science fiction authors doing whimsical things to help one of their own!   Can your money be better spent?

Jay Lake is fighting cancer, and the SF/F world is rallying to help with the expenses (specifically in his case: gene sequencing).   Certain SF/F authors have been recruited to perform peculiar, or embarrassing, or perplexing acts, for money.   The money is for Jay Lake‘s expenses; the acts are for our amusement.  The list itself is worth the price of admission.

I just went over there myself and gave them some money because reasons!   (1, and 2, above, not 3.)

There was an option to include a little note with your donation.   After much soul-searching and agonizing, this is what I sent:


“I like whimsy.  I hate cancer.  Here’s my money.”


I feel that pretty much covers it.



Jan 4 2013

And a happy new year to all.



Alas, holidays are over.   Okay, everyone,  back to work.   Seriously.

I’m again at my library, finding that my favorite carrel by the great big windows is exceptionally COLD.   Less that two feet away, it’s 23 degrees fahrenheit out there (-5 Celsius, for you Europeans).

What this place needs is a fireplace to sit beside.   Yeah.  And a cat!

I’d bundle up, but bundling up does rather immobilize one.  And I’m already stiff and achy from sitting immobile all day at the DayJob.

Yes, I still have the DayJob!  Plans are afoot —  but for the time being, yes, still there, grumble grumble…

I’ve  just finished reading John Haines’ book The Stars, The Snow, The Fire, which I discovered when I pulled it off the shelf for a random quote last month.

I found it fascinating, in  so many ways — I love wilderness, and solitude, and deep thought, and any place that has clear open skies above, and the book does have all of that.   And Haines was a poet, so his memoir is often poetic, but always clear and immediate.

I find I like him least when he is being intentionally philosophical, and best when he lets the landscape,  events and characters  speak for themselves.   If you present something clearly enough, the implications will communicate themselves, and you needn’t channel the reader toward some specific conclusion.    And more often than not, that’s how Haines manages his essays; I think he’s especially brilliant at it.

But one thing I found particularly interesting, and unexpected,  was the near-total absence of women.

Now, I do not complain about this.   I bring it up merely as an aside.  It’s a simple fact of the time and place about which Haines was writing.   But I felt as though I were being given a window into a world not otherwise open to me.

A world of hunting, trapping, building cabins by hand.   Hunkering down for the winter, waiting for the sun to return.   Listening for the ice to break.   Trekking miles down the mountainside for an evening’s visit to the nearest roadhouse, there to listen to the laconic conversation of the most grizzled of old-timers…

Certainly a woman can do all that, and almost certainly they are doing it — now.   But the time covered by Haines’ memoir is from the late 1940’s to the late 60’s.  For the most part, these men saw only other men, for months on end — that is, when they saw another human being at all.

But I believe: bring a woman into the picture, and the men would have acted differently; stories would have unfolded in a different way; and the whole social dynamic would have altered.

In fact, I get the sense that  the solitude itself would have been a different solitude, if this world had been shared by an equal number of women.

Of course… perhaps it was.    Haines mentions women only glancingly — but is that because (as seems to have been comunicated to me) they were mostly absent?    Or did the author, a product of his times, consider them and their stories irrelevant?

I don’t know.   I  can’t tell from the book.

But again, I’m not complaining about the absence of women;  but it does render this an alien landscape, which I cannot help but find fascinating.

Well.  No random quote today, as I’ve spent my blogtime talking about John Haines.

I really, deeply enjoyed this book.


When it's cold, you can see the stars better.