Monday, August 30 2021

Quote of the Day

Mouth, meet brain. Brain, meet mouth. You guys should get to know each other a little better.

Lauren Shippen, The Infinite Noise

If you live in Washington

It’s the perfect time to go to Bow Hill and get strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I can’t tell you what to do, but it seems to me like acquiring tasty berries is always a good thing.


A little more keyboards in my life

After getting my husband to watch me fumble my sad way through some online typing tests, we started to realize the problem with my typing pain was less with my fingers striking the keys and more with the ways I was bending my wrists to reach the keyboard.

(If you are curious, we figured out that if I type like I am on a laptop and trying to avoid a non-existent touchpad, my wrists are beautifully unbent.)

It’s looking like a split keyboard is the way to go for me. Which is hilarious, because I’ve been trying to learn how to touch type since 1986 and it’s still a work in progress. I love this Dygma Raise keyboard but the price is….abhorrent? outrageous? logic-defying? Not good.


The End.

That’s all I have for today. I’m finding that reading The Uninhabitable Earth for novel research is maxing my brain out for learning and pondering new things.

It’s also really fucking depressing, so I need a very big mental well to contain all that in without just being a nihilistic mess. So that’s fun.

Tuesday, August 24 2021

Quote of the Day

Global warming may seem like a distended morality tale playing out over several centuries…But that is a fable about historical villainy…The majority of the burning has come since the premiere of Seinfeld.

David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth

Nothing wastes my time like trying to organize my time

I had the thought today that I should be tracking how many sprints I spend working on my novel, because otherwise it feels like there is 0 progress at anything and I feel sad at life. So that was an hour+ spent setting a thing up in Notion. I think it will be very useful for making me feel like forward progress is inevitably happening, and for guesstimating how long tasks will take. But also, the time is gone and there are no sprints yet today to put into the nice new tracker I made……

So on that note, just a quick list of links I’ve stumbled over:

My Gender is Maximalism

Everything I’ve Learned about Being a “Professional” Writer in One Post

Bold as Love: Gwyneth Jones’ Vision of the Near-Future Has Never Been More Relevant

Jones’s series should go into the Canon, I think! Now off I run, to hopefully still get some sprints done today.

Tuesday, August 10 2021

Quote of the Day

They both court dysfunction like it is the cutest debutante at the ball.

Kaylen, friend of awesome

I looked it up twice

How the Climate Crisis Will Force A Massive American Migration

Therefore in the blog it shall be.


Quel surprise.

It’s Grim: The latest UN report is clear: Climate change is here, it’s a crisis, and it’s caused by fossil fuels

I mean….yeah?

And it’s really bad. Also….yeah?

It’s exhausting how inactioning we are actioning about this.


Worldbuilding: A Primer

I’m attempting to build a cohesive set of ideas around worldbuilding, ideas that can then be distilled into questions that I can make a worksheet out of. While I understand that there are as many ways to approach stories as there are people, I’m finding it very helpful to stick to one approach while I better learn my storytelling craft of how all these elements fit together. I have worksheets and a solid set of interlinking ideas around plot and character, so now it’s time to work worldbuilding in there. Here are the references that seem to be speaking to me the most right now:

Lecture #6: Worldbuilding Part Two — Brandon Sanderson on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. I like this for Brandon’s realistic approach. I have no desire to think out every last piece of my worlds, and that’s why I find most worldbuilding worksheets useless. I want to focus on the pieces of the setting that help me tell my story. Figuring out the powers of every last god in a made-up religion or how clothes get made in my world is not going to be relevant for every single story.

Fonda Lee on Twitter: The most powerful tool in worldbuilding is POV. This is such excellent advice that I really want to be aware of when worldbuilding. Now to make it into questions that make me think about it.

From The Inside Out: Worldbuilding Through Extrapolation. This is also a method that starts small and doesn’t focus on figuring everything out–just what’s relevant to the story.

The Ultimate Guide To World­Building: How To Write Fantasy, Sci­Fi And Real­Life Worlds. I really like this one because it differentiates between building a world completely from scratch and an alternate reality world, where some real-world things inform your setting. I’m finding a lot of guides are for completely from scratch, and for the novel I’m working on now, that’s not what I’m doing.

N.K. Jemisin’s Worldbuilding 101. If I need to go further down the rabbit hole than the simpler approaches suggested by the other resources, this is the guide to do that without going completely overboard.

Teaching Talk, Models, Pyramids & C.S Lewis…. This is a blog post about teaching, but the last bit is about the model of the Cultural Iceberg by Edward T. Hall. It’s a completely brilliant way of breaking down the individual parts of how culture is expressed and a great resource for how to show all that worldbuilding. So much so that I’m popping the graphic in here.

For More Inclusive Writing, Look to How Writing Is Taught. I am SO EXCITED to read this book, as it bashes traditional workshops, which I loathe, and explains exactly why I loathe them. And suggests ways to do it better! And re-defines all the elements of story?! Seriously, I need this book.

I haven’t read it yet and already I want to try running a workshop based on Matthew Salesses’s recommendations. That should go in the Another Idea For Another Day pile.

Monday, July 9 2021

Quote of the Day

Charlotte was coming to believe that arrogance was a quality not just correlated with but a manifestation of stupidity, a result of stupidity.

Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140

I’m trying an experiment today, one where instead of trying to stuff a whole bunch of things in my day and only getting to some of them, I’m going to Work. I sat down at my desk at 9, and I’m going to keep working on my novel until 5–with a short break here for this blog. I guess we’ll see how that goes…..


Kitty

ABS & SILICONE KITTY PAW ARTISAN KEYCAP

Those are amazing. Of course I use a chiclet keyboard and they won’t fit. But if I didn’t, these would be for me.


Ow

Lately I’ve been finding that when I read my phone for 20 minutes or more, my eyes start to sting and water. It’s not great. But this happens mostly in bed, in the mornings when I wake up. I had a suspicion, and I think the problem is actually that I haven’t been drinking enough. Back to making sure I drink like 6 bottles of water or more a day.


Working in the reality of today

Can we save the planet by shrinking the economy? The “degrowth” movement to fight the climate crisis offers a romantic, utopian vision. But it’s not a policy agenda.

This is a really great article and it’s a really, really great point. They point out that degrowth is very first world centered–if we stop buying a ton of things manufactured in developing economies, we gut those economies and their citizens start having very bad outcomes.

Even if emissions in rich countries go to zero very soon, climate change is set to worsen as poorer countries increase their own emissions.

That will, of course, have deeply negative climate impacts. But the alternative is a nonstarter — should the world really prioritize curbing emissions and economic growth if it meant suppressing the growth of those countries?

Degrowthers see no dilemma here. What Hickel envisions is global movement in two directions: Poor countries could develop up to a certain level of prosperity and then stop; rich countries could develop down to that level and then stop. Thus, climate catastrophe could be averted, all while making the world’s poor more prosperous.

“Rich countries urgently need to reduce their excess energy and resource use to sustainable levels so our sisters and brothers in the global South can live well too,” Hickel put it. “We live on an abundant planet and we can all flourish on it together, but to do so we have to share it more fairly, and build economies that are designed around meeting human needs rather than around perpetual growth.”

From a climate change perspective, though, there’s a problem. First, it means that degrowth would do nothing about the bulk of emissions, which are occurring in developing countries.

Second, the global economy is more interconnected than Hickel implies. When Covid-19 hit, poor countries were devastated not just by the virus but by the aftershocks of virus-induced slowdowns in consumption in rich countries

There’s some genuine appeal to the idea of an end to “consumerism,” but the pandemic offered a taste of how a sudden drop in rich-world consumption would actually affect the developing world. Covid-19 dramatically curtailed Western imports and tourism for a time. The consequences in poor countries were devastating. Hunger rose, and child mortality followed.

They also talk about how degrowth didn’t really start out as a climate solution, but a holistic proposal.


I have lemons

So I might try this delicious looking recipe: The Pasta Queen’s “Lemon Temptress Pasta”


I am builder of worlds!

I am looking for world building resources, and I found this interesting worksheet and resource list from M. D. Presley.

Worldbuilding Resources


New ContraPoints video!

Hurray Natalie! Envy is great. I really enjoyed it, thinking about how we cloak simple envy in justice and morality to assuage our own guilt or uncomfortableness over having the feeling, and use those to justify truly awful actions.

As a general rule, the more radical a political community claims to be, the more likely it is to be a community of resentment. Self-styled radicals will tell you, “Superficial surface reforms do not interest us. The problem must be critiqued at its root.” And the root turns out to be this universal, all-encompassing evil, right? Society itself, the system, the machine.

A resentment ideologue always imagines himself engaged in a kind of Satanic revolt against an omnipotent, omnipresent enemy…And nothing short of total revolution counts as any sort of victory whatsoever. “We have to dismantle the entire system! Burn it all down!”

I guess it’s pedestrian to point out that this is the revolutionary utopian equivalent of Christians awaiting the Last Judgement. Our Kingdom is coming comrades!

Often the appeal of utopian ideology is similar to religion. It’s not about health care, higher wages, relief from police violence: these are actual goals that could be demanded, worked for, and achieved. Utopian ideology instead promises relief from some general malaise, “alienation.” And so ironically it can have the same opiate effect that Marx ascribed to religion. But release from the general anguish of human existence is not a political goal. There’s been many revolutions in the last few centuries and so far zero utopias.

Tuesday, July 27 2021

Quote of the Day

Anyway, it became very fashionable very quickly to perform cultural purity for others, and that fashion became dogma, and dogma became law, and tada! Here we are.

Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

Not bad, but too incremental

These new Washington laws went into effect on Sunday

I get that the wheels of democracy aren’t the fastest, but we need big action on some stuff here. At least there is action, which is more than I can say for most places.

I really put this up there because I had a thought while reading about the changes to law enforcement. Something about how kicking in people’s doors might feel like a rational thing to do since we see it happen at least once on every procedural show episode on TV and in movies. Lives are on the line! The killer kills his victim in five days AND ITS DAY FIVE RIGHT NOW AHHHHHHHHH SMASH!!!!!

The plot line in a show often requires a time constraint to keep people interested. Real life is not a plot device.

Anyway, my thought: for every stupidly over the top violent piece of media that gets made normalizing brutality, a piece of media should be made un-normalizing it. I should write a bunch of happy fluffy things.

Or possibly watch the updated My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and write stuff like that.


A story

While I was visiting an old friend this weekend, I brought up my dad who is being white-assumed for the first time in his life. When a group of white people say racist things in front of him, he gets to make the fun decision to speak up and mention that they are disparaging him and should stop it or not. (I’ve dealt with this a lot. Badly, I might add.)

My friend replied: That’s awesome! His super power is making people uncomfortable.

That was a kick in the preconceptions, for sure. I love everything about this.

The end.


Oh my aching lists

YES, I LOVE BOOKS, BUT PLEASE DON’T TAKE ME TO A BOOKSTORE

I’ve become good about not buying paper books, actually. But whenever I see a book I want, online or in a bookstore, I add it to my Amazon purchase lists. Which look like this:

Craft Theory Books: 68

Digital Arting Books: 11

Foodish Books: 34

Genre Books <3: 145

Graphic Novels: 40

Lit Books: 68

Nonfic Books: 190

Traditional Arting Books: 31

Which is well below 6k, but still feels like there’s pretty much no way I can read all those in my lifetime, and I just keep adding more.

It also reminds me that I need more time to read. I read a lot at night before falling asleep, which is when I read SFF books. I don’t want to be reading weighty nonfiction books about how awful the world is before trying to sleep. I need more book time!


Processes are so much work

So I wrote this essay thing about two weeks ago now, and I have no idea what to do with it. Which is a predicament that worries me, that perhaps I am somehow self-sabotaging by not figuring out how to get this piece into the world.

I could revise it, I have an idea for a new bit to add, but I think because of how personal it is I am constitutionally incapable of knowing how it lands on a brain that I don’t live in. I need some outside feedback from a person who either knows me very little or not at all.

Huh. It makes me wonder if there is like a Wattpad for nonfiction. I don’t know much about nonfiction. Maybe that is where I am falling down, this is out of my wheelhouse just enough to make me uncertain.

Oh. People do post essays on Wattpad. That’s interesting! But not good if I want to trad publish it. Back to the drawing board.

Oh! This is a thing I can research! Why didn’t I think of this?! OF COURSE I CAN RESEARCH THE THING HA HA HA HA

13.38: How to Find and Use Alpha Readers

FIVERR > WRITING & TRANSLATION > Beta Reading

Why didn’t I think of Fiverr?? This is a great idea!

Also I found Aigner Loren Wilson while searching for information and she just seems great and I don’t want to lose her website: Byline or By Crook

Now motivated to add that extra bit and hire an alpha reader!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Quote of the Day

How could anyone find comfort in silence that could end without warning?

Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, And The Ground Within

Why tricksters rule

Loki as Other: Why Do Queer and Female Viewers Love the Trickster?

Yet despite offering more representation, the series appears to lack curiosity about the embodied experiences of gender-fluid, bisexual, and pansexual people. How does it feel to be genderfluid, and does Loki see himself that way? How does it feel to be attracted to more than one gender? What does Loki’s sexuality mean to him (and his “variants”)–is it a source of joy, a source of stress, a significant part of his life? These questions seem to be absent from the Loki series, with Loki’s occupation of other bodies used purely to further the plot, and his sexuality only acknowledged with the single coming-out line. Perhaps a story that explored these facets of Loki’s identity would devote more screentime to the experience of queerness, genderfluidity, or even atypical masculinity. Loki’s character speaks to many of us because he is othered, but I can’t help wondering: what would a series that centered Loki look like?

Everyone should love the trickster, in my opinion. And like everyone else, I hope season 2 of Loki has way more trickstery goodness than the last one did.


This could be my next attention sink

Palia: MMO Meets Farm/Life/Community Sim

It’s not out yet, but an MMO that encourages cooperation over ganking or insulting strangers is exactly what I am here for. It might not even have a combat system, and that makes me over the moon happy.


Writing resources about diversity win all the things

My previous resource: Writing the Other

My new one I just found out about: Writing With Color

Both make me happy and more confident about representing awesomely.


Capital-s Self

I’m looking up some resources for a friend about the Jungian concept of ‘Self’, and I’m having a hard time finding things that aren’t a Jungian word salad. Here are some of the best, so I don’t have to try to find them again:

The Highly Sensitive Person and the Numinous

The objective reality of what is experienced as numinous is an issue that Corbett and Jung, as psychologists, not theologians, prefer to side step. They would leave that question up to theologians, and perhaps to each of us.

But I think it is important to note that our interpretation of our experience or that of others has enormous effects. If what’s numinous were “objective,” then it seems that it would be true, a fact, God’s truth in this case, and it would seem that everyone ought to believe it, which leads to religious wars as well as people trying to believe in something they have heard about but never personally experienced, because the one who had the experience says it is Truth. On the other hand, if it is seen as a purely subjective, personal experience, that is often taken to mean, as I was saying, that the experience is numinous, but its source is not. The experience is only a psychological instinct, capacity, or tendency to see or believe that there is something real out there.

Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

The Self (Jung’s Definition)

The Jungian Model of the Psyche

Then there’s also this great graphic on a tepid article, so I’ll just include the graphic:

Thanks Hugo Lin!

And then this is also a helpful image:

Not sure where this came from.

It’s odd, re-looking these concepts up. They were so clear to me while I was in grad school, and now I have these ideas that have lingered and morphed and evolved in my brain that have become intrinsic parts of my worldview that are now hard to enunciate. In going back over some of my grad school materials, I wasn’t finding the explanations or descriptions that are half-formed in my head, because I’ve integrated the concepts in ways that don’t always tie directly back to their source. It’s like this information about integrating the psyche has integrated just like a psyche. Does knowledge live in our minds and become a psychic phenomena, become an archetype like the shadow or animus? That’s a frightening thought.


I hate everything about long term care insurance

And yet, I must learn about it in light of the new Washington state regulation regarding it starting next year. I saw this YouTube video explaining that there were types of LTC. Which I didn’t know and never wanted to know. But there is a thing called asset-based long term care insurance, and that might be a thing I want? Links gathered to be scrutinized with the husband later.

What is Asset-Based Long-Term Care?

Traditional LTC vs Asset-Based LTC

Asset-Based Plans (AKA Hybrid or Linked Benefits)

Being a consumer of my own misfortune is really as horrible as it sounds!