I’ve never used the “Press This” function before today; I expect I should probably think rather carefully about how and when I do use it, before making any kind of a habit out of it. But for the moment, I am just going to recommend the following horror story:
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Came up, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the context of Game of Thrones. Martin’s ability to make characters that do frankly reprehensible things into people you actually start to like is unlike pretty much anything I’ve ever seen (although, you know, suggestions for similar writers to check out is welcome).
It actually got to the point where I was deeply uncomfortable with someone’s pointing out exactly how objectionable the behaviour of one of my favourite characters was. That’s fairly unusual for me, although probably it has to do with the fact that people who commit murders aren’t usually portrayed as sympathetic characters. It’s not as if I am in a position to stand back and say “well, usually I have no problem with the criticism of characters I like which do bad things, but something about the way GRRM writes them makes it different.”
(Note that I said “people who commit murders” instead of “murderers”. On the one hand, this illustrates how much focus gets put on other aspects of the character. On the other, I picked those words, and they are words that minimize the murders in question.)
I’m putting off being annoyed at something. I mean, possibly I won’t have reason to be annoyed, but I might, and the possibility is sort of trying to squinch up my spine. It’s annoying, and between watching The Newsroom and pausing it to discuss Game of Thrones and getting the occasional news squib from the real world (mostly cheerful) I think I am mostly overcoming it. Which is nice.
I had plans for last weekend. Unfortunately, I also had stomach flu, and that sort of trumped the plans. And work was as busy as short work weeks tend to be, so I didn’t actually get here until now.
In any case! I got nominated by What’s it all about and other stories for the Tell Me About Yourself Award. It was kind of startling, but in the good way–like having the cat appear from nowhere to jump onto your lap and start purring, actually, which is totally not an example drawn from recent personal experience.
So… wow, okay. Five Things About Me:
- I knit. Most of the time this is very satisfying, kind of a cross between assembling a puzzle and getting a room cleaned. But occaisionally I get anxious over the fact that what I do with it isn’t creative, and it ties up my hands so that time spent knitting is time taken away from typing. (I also knit stuff with no idea of who it should go to, and probably need to start clearing out a few things.)
- I find it easy to get involved in stories, to think about what they mean in an idealized way. I read a horror novel and I see how it reflects King’s ideas of Appolonian and Dionysian struggle; I get into a gaming setting and start gushing when I try to describe it, the idea that among the crooked or the corrupt or the afraid, you may look into the darkness and pick up your weapon and stand your ground. I can get sappy over TV Tropes; I know that so much of what’s there is pulp, but (as they say) tropes reflect life, and they are about celebrating fiction, not mocking it.
- I spent the first four years of my life that I remember in London, England–age three to age seven. I got the chance to go back three years ago and it was lovely; I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so comfortable in a place.
- I have depression. It’s currently being managed, but I’m still dealing with a chronic condition, I’m not better. I try not to hide it, because I don’t want to feel shamed into pretending I’m well in order to live my life. I’m near-sighted, I’m physically weak, and I have a neurochemical imbalance–describing it as diabetes of the brain seems to help some people get it, and to not sneer at my meds.
It’s hell. There is no-one in the world I can imagine ever, ever wishing it on.
- I love the TV show The Wire; I honestly think it’s the best one I’ve ever seen. It’s an exception to point 2: the world is so low-key and plausible and compelling and honest that it comes in feeling almost more like a documentary than a story, a roman a clef, and the story’s so vital that there’s no inclination to wander into the abstract. It’s brilliant and harsh and honest and sad and funny, and the kind of thing I buy on DVD specifically so I can loan it to people.
EDIT: This post was originally titled “What a week”. I’m still not finished. Posting as it stands, for the moment, and will update with a list of people. Apologies for the delay.
I shall not argue on the Internet when sick and annoyed. First, I might get mean. Second, I might misunderstand. Third, I will probably not be thinking clearly and may make logical arguments which I am later embarrassed to have attributed to me.
…it helps, sometimes, to remind myself of this.
Haven’t been posting lately. Need to fix this.
The depression came up in a way I would honestly not have expected today.
I’ve got a cold. A really pretty vicious one–I sound worse than Harold, all wheezy and cracked, and as shall shortly become apparent, I am having trouble focussing. I made it out to the drugstore and got orange juice and tissues and Powerade and expectorant. And then I came back, and I discovered that that cough medicine in question advises that I consult a doctor before taking it if I am taking medication for depression.
It turns out that it can have some really fun interactions with my meds; I couldn’t made sense of that, but I managed to find a couple of people who were very kindly willing to explain, and the short version is something like “your meds slow down metabolism of that drug, how do you feel about potentially extreme side-effects including seizures?”
One of them also suggested calling a medical professional to check, which was helpful because that possibility had honestly not occurred to me in my current state. Despite the label on the cough medicine saying “Talk to a doctor before using this product if…”
Yeah, I’m that level of sick-and-out-of-it.
Anyway, I got a callback from the doctor’s office, and it should be okay.
There’s a very good analogy about spoons that explains how you need to manage things, think about things that most people get to take for granted. And I’m not saying that tripping up on taking cough medicine is the same as having Lupus! But needing to check, consciously learning that I need to pay attention to labels (even in this state, where I looked at the label before buying the stuff and didn’t even register that bit until I got home), it’s a weird feeling. A reminder that yes, this is part of my life and it’s going to mean paying attention, and sometimes the same condition that puts me in a state where I need to pay attention to things is going to be the condition that means I’m not able to do it.
It’s tiring, I guess. I wish I had a better word.
(In the meantime, though, I have made sure that the light of my life has the information on exactly which drugs and at what dosage I’m on, readily to hand. Between this and the “it should probably be fine”, I am going to stop sending energy on worrying and go drink a lot of orange juice.)
Was over at my in-laws for dinner. One of them is an amateur genealogist (do you get professional genealogists? I suppose you could…), and he plugged my dad’s name and birth date into the program he uses. From what I have garnered, it is a loose cloud of information floating somewhere in the internether. You build your family tree there, other people build theirs, if the two of you happen to have a common point then the data which you’ve chosen to make public can overlap.
Someone else had already created an entry for someone who could have been my dad–a couple of data points met–and it included a picture, so I got called over to take a look at it.
It was him.
It was taken in the mid-late 40s, I guess; the scan of it online is greyscale and not very big. You can make out four candles on the cake balanced on his knees (birthday picture, is the guess), but he’s clearly way more than four. I looked at it for a second, and I couldn’t say one way or the other if it was dad, and then there was this realization that I’d seen that expression on his face before, that exact expression, and I felt… nothing as strong as stunned. Taken aback, maybe, or pleasantly surprised, or something.
Part of it was understanding that someone else knew about him; someone I’d never had reason to imagine existed found a picture of him and figured out or was told who he was. Part of it was that he looked happy.
Also I have now learnt my paternal grandmother’s names, and picked up a smidgen of detail about the trip she took to come over from Italy.
 I had a moment of thinking “Am I sure it was a scan?” and then being slightly disconcerted to realize that yes, of course I am sure. Digital pictures were so not an option at that point, after all.
Had 250 words up. Lost them on a weird page refresh while trying to link a video. Frustrated and going to bed.
It’s odd, I don’t usually think of deadlines as something to live up to.
I also don’t usually think of the day as being over at midnight, but that seems like a possibly specious distinction to work with at the moment, so I’m here again, composing on my phone. I’ve set it to vibrate, which is slightly less annoying than clicking for Sudoku, but I am finding it a bit buzzy for typing.
It’s occurring to me that I have a lot of electronic wafers–little slices of screen and plastic and buttons that exist as ways to get to something else that isn’t exactly tangible. My Kobo. My laptop. This phone.
I say, sometimes, that I love living in the future. Usually I say it when John tells me something new and wonderful about technology or medicine or astronomy. But I think the first time I really noticed was several years ago…
I was watching the realtime map for the London Underground, and some of the stations lit up (means there was a service interruption). I was curious and clicked for details, and it said there’d been an incident on the tracks with a passenger. The timestamp was seven minutes old.
Someone got onto the Tube tracks in London and I found out about it in seven minutes. I can’t walk a mile in seven minutes, and…how far away is London? How many people do I know who’ve never even seen it? And I’m getting news from there in less time than it takes to drink a coffee, unless you really chug it.
(Full disclosure; I am a slow coffee drinker.)
((Fuller disclosure; I had a morbid streak when I was younger, and my second thought upon seeing the map information was “I wonder how far he splashed.” Which is ridiculous, really, I don’t even know that anyone was hurt rather than just being a Gap-hopping twit, but… Oh, the lurid imaginations of youth.))
I think the second time the shrinking of intervening distances really hit me was several years later, when a friend in the UK had forgotten his wallet at work and didn’t have groceries in the house and I ordered him a pizza. Because Internet. You can do a lot with the Internet.
Have noticed a possible downside to composing on the phone; small screen means it’s harder to glance back up at what I said earlier, and easier to ramble very far afield. Will mind that in future. Of course, it’s also easier to not get bogged down in going back and editing yourself, which is something I’ve been hoping to work on for a bit.
Right. Been writing for half an hour, and want to get up early tomorrow. Think I will call it a night.
Writing this from my new phone. Very different feeling from typing on a keyboard; I’m not sure how well I could write fiction on this. Maybe it’ll be different once I get more used to it and the motions become more of a reflex. I’ve never heard of anyone saying that they couldn’t write if they had to type, after all, and I guess this is similar.
Missed the bus this morning–it came a minute early–and John gave me a lift to the Transitway. Confess I was grinning like an idiot over being able to text him from the bus. Currently still playing around; I think the biggest difference between this and a typewriter is the inability to touch-type.
More later. Probably need to decide if those 200 words a day can be in separate posts.
Light of my life appears to have gotten my Kobo working, which is wonderful. My favourite short story on it came off Smashwords, and I was getting really frustrated with not having it handy.
(Oh, there’s a word count on this! Handy.)
Taking advice on practicing time management; seeing if I can get down 200 words a day, reliably, until the end of October.
Other concerns ATM: very much behind on Excolo roundup, not enough sleep, top-to-bottom housecleaning due by Thursday night, work screw-up, general failure to write.
Writing a story with a friend, and between our schedules it’s bogging down. Need to talk to her to find out how she feels about my writing pieces of it alone, or stories that use the set-up we’ve created. I can see her disliking the idea, although I don’t think it’s likely. I cannot see being comfortable with just going ahead with it without asking her.
Also for consideration: am I using this as an excuse to procrastinate?
I have a handful of ideas for Iolace, and two stories. Unsurprisingly enough, neither of them is written yet.
Trying to coordinate my various journals, accounts, feeds, and any other ways that I track what people are doing online. I like having them, but having them all over the place is not useful. Not entirely sure how or if this will fit in with that; I’m hoping that if I organize everything else, this will naturally settle into its own niche.