Hi! I'm Shira. I write and edit stuff. If you'd like, you can sponsor my writing and activism via a PayPal subscription
* "Wool and Silk and Wood" in Electric Velocipede
#15/16, November 2008
* "Unruly Harvest" in Polu Texni
, December 2008
* "About a Girl" is a poem and a perfume; check it out at Violette Market
* "When Her Eyes Open" in Lone Star Stories
, February 2009; it was reprinted in the 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference's speculative poetry sampler, and was nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "Twelve" in Cabinet des Fees
, March 2009
* "Nine Things About Oracles" in Electric Velocipede
* "The Library, After" in Mythic Delirium
#24; it won the Rhysling Award! Reprinted in Mythic Delirium #30
and The Nebula Awards Showcase 2014
* "The Changeling's Lament
" in Stone Telling #5
; nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Rhysling Award.
* "Mushroom Barley Soup: An Invocation
", in Stone Telling #8; nominated for the Rhysling Award.
", in Through the Gate
* "The Oracle Never Dances", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "Ereshkigal's Proposal to Hades", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "The Busker, Broke and Busted
", Apex Magazine #48, May 2013
* "And the War is Never Over
", Strange Horizons, May 2013
* "Where We Died
", Niteblade #24, June 2013
* "Limbo" in Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry
* "Not Too Bold
", Niteblade #25, September 2013
* "The Binding
", Lakeside Circus
, April 2015.
* "Four Chambers
", Mythic Delirium
, September 2015 (nominated for the Rhysling Award).Short Fiction
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" in ChiZine
, January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award
* "Fortune" in Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name
, the s00j
benefit anthology. Reprinted in ChiZine, May 2011
* "Valentines" in Interfictions 2
, November 2009. Reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2011
and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women in December 2014
* "And to My Wife" in Electric Velocipede
* "Salt Brides" in Abyss & Apex
, October 2010; it has been nominated for the Micro Award
* "Between Truth and Life" in Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
, January 2011; podcast at Toasted Cake in February 2013
* "The Portal to Heaven" in Electric Velocipede
* "I Am Thinking of You in the Spaces Between
" in Apex Magazine, October 2011; it's on Tangent Online's recommended reading list
and is a Million Writers Award Notable Story
", Apex Magazine, November 2012
* "Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw
", in Clockwork Phoenix 4
. It's on Tangent Online's Recommended Reading List
* "Becca at the End of the World
", in Apex Magazine, October 2013. You can listen to it at The Drabblecast
. Reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead
, edited by Paula Guran, September 2014. Received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror
* "The Final Girl
" in Strange Horizons
, April 2014. It's on Tangent Online's 2014 Recommended Reading List
* "The Selves We Leave Behind
" ("The Angel of Fremont Street"/"Fortune") by Upper Rubber Boot Press, June 2014.
* "The Cartographer's Requiem
" in The Journal of Unlikely Cartography
, June 2014.
* "Never Chose This Way
", Apex Magazine
, July 2015Nonfiction
* "Israel is Not My Birthright"
on Salon.com, July 2014EditingFlying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry
, with Michael Damian Thomas.Liminality
, a Magazine of Speculative Poetry, with Mat Joiner (ashlyme
In process: Cicatrix is the seriously bent portal fantasy, Places You Haunt is the Vegas mythpunk, and Shayara is the political thriller urban fantasy.Conventions 2015
* I'll be at Arisia, Wiscon, and Readercon. Where Else am I?
You can find me at Facebook
. You can be my fan
there, too. I'm also on Tumblr
. Not on MySpace. :)
In early 2013, we had no intention of getting another cat. We'd lost Jack the previous August; then we lost Victoria in February.
And then newly-solo Max started caterwauling all night, every night, out of sheer loneliness. He needed a buddy. We weren't ready, but we saddled up and went out, on my birthday, to acquire a cat from the MSPCA.
His original name was Bunz. Yes. Ridiculous. We first called him Ampersand, then Sebastian, which went straight to Bash. And, later, Murder Cat. And Jerkface. Because omg was he a trick cat. Kitten-playful and sweet in the shelter, but, well, a Murder Cat at home.
He was 12 when we adopted him. Everyone was like "Are you sure?" Yes, we were; at the time, we were thinking of him as a companion for then-17-year-old Max, and this was before Max's kidney disease diagnosis, so we thought a few years together as buddies would be good. Average Maine Coon life expectancy is 12-15, and he was going to be an indoor cat; Siamese can live to 20. It was a good bet. But Max took ill that summer, and died right after Thanksgiving.
And Bash? Oh, Bash. Bash was a revenge shitter, a nervous traveller, a biter of hair and arms, trouble all the way down. Bash had a bump on his chin - $600 of tests later we found out it was acne. Bash got eye herpes. EYE HERPES. We shuttled him back and forth to the veterinary opthalmologist for months. We medicated him multiple times a day. He fuckin' hated that. We all have scars. He started shit with the other animals we eventually acquired. He swatted at Nicky and chased Whisper. He pissed on my bed. He ate every piece of plastic that entered the house. He was a giant furry asshole.
But he made this sweet "murr" sound whenever you touched him. And he had the world's floofiest belly and gigantic paws and that stunning ruff. And he would let me - for brief amounts of time - pick him up and snuggle him in my arms like a baby, tummy exposed. And he had a mighty purr, and loved it when we had company - he would walk right up to any guest and regally demand to be worshiped. Which the guest always did, because he was a beauty, and he *would* be sweet before he bit you. He's the first cat my toddler niece ever met, and she fell in love with him.
And she won't remember him.
Bash seemed fine last week. He acted totally normal when Sioban and Emily came over for dinner on Wednesday, I remember that. Emily took selfies with him. He demanded petting from Sioban.
During Arisia this weekend, Elayna noticed that he wasn't eating.
We made an appointment for Wednesday late afternoon, because it's the first time we could - we can't leave Nicky unattended in the cone (which comes off tomorrow), and Wednesday's the vet's only open-late day. We thought maybe arthritis had dimmed his appetite. Maybe cancer. Oh, Bash, getting expensive again.
He stayed under the dining room table all day yesterday. I kept checking on him. At 1:00, I saw he was having difficulty breathing; I texted Adam "Can you get home earlier today? I'm really worried about him." I hit send.
And Bash cried out, and I ran to him and scooped him up in that baby-snuggle position, and he left. Instantly.
We were bracing ourselves for Nicky, with that risky surgery. We've been joking that Bash is too mean to die. At the very least, we figured he'd put us through a protracted illness.
No one expected this. We're still in shock. The girl-cats knew; Nicky is just distressed because he can tell everyone else is.
Bash was an asshole cat. I used to look at him, shake my head, and say "I don't love you."
And then I would lean in and whisper "actually i do love you, don't tell anyone, it's a secret."
Oh hey I have a couple minutes let's talk about the dog's eye exploding.
Nicky had a sudden total loss of vision. We took him to the doctor who sent us to the emergency vet, who said "yeah, he has a corneal ulcer, give him these antibiotics and follow up with the opthalmologist in three days."
The morning of his appointment, his tear production was *way* up, which I dutifully reported to the doctor. Who said "...yeah, those aren't tears." And handed me the magnifying glasses so I could see the hole in my dog's eye.
I very kindly did not pass the glasses to Adam.
So Nicky had surgery that very day, which was... the most stress I've suffered in a while. Sedating chihuahuas is risky. Sedating dogs with heart conditions is risky. Sedating my chihuahua-with-heart-disease meant a lot of tension in my house. (And some A+ boyfriending as my guys were there for me on Gchat and text; thanks, guys!)
He made it through. <3 In fact, the surgery was a big success. (It was a conjunctival pedicle graft, for those of you who know vet stuff.) The graft is integrating very well with his cornea; he started off on three oral medications (antibiotic twice a day, painkiller three times a day, NSAID once a day) and one eyedrop (three times a day), and now he's just on the eyedrops for three more days and the cone for one more week.
Me? I'm exhausted. Because he cannot be allowed to disturb that eye, he's needed an extra-big Cone of Shame, which he hates and regularly attempts to remove. He's been sleeping with me at night, because he can't be left unattended for even a minute; I am frequently awakened by him shoving the cone into my face. At least he's not panicking about it anymore. The first few days, I got maybe two hours of sleep per night. He's on an exercise restriction so severe that he hasn't been allowed to climb stairs or jump off the couch - which wasn't an issue the first few days, but now he absolutely feels 100% better and wants to jump around and play, so we are hypervigilant when he's on the couch! And I have had to learn to do everything with one hand, because I'm carrying him with the other. Because Adam and Aimee have day jobs and Elayna was visiting my parents. So yeah, pup care has been 90% me.
I'm really very tired.
This is why, when people ask me how I am, I say "My dog's eye exploded." People say "But other than that...?" and I say "There is no 'other than that'." This has been my entire 2016 so far. Everything else is good? All the humans in my world are excellent. My full manuscript is with an agent who I think would be a great fit, so cross your fingers that she agrees. Um. I might get to have a full night's sleep at Arisia, because Elayna's staying home with Nicky.
How are you?
(Monetary concerns: The surgery was $3,500. We applied for and got CareCredit, which is interest-free for six months, but then it shoots up to 27% interest. If you are so moved, my PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't have the spoons to set up a fundraiser right now. Did I mention I have a four-day con starting tomorrow? I am very tired.)
Arisia is in two weeks! Oy. My
deliberately-light (EDIT: HAHA that changed) schedule:
7pm: How Lord of the Rings Stunted Fantasy's Growth
LotR's shadow looms huge over fantasy. From the moment it achieved its massive popularity, it's had a stranglehold on the genre. The diverse and weird pre-LotR fantasy landscape was obliterated in favor of decades of Tolkien clones, and we're only barely beginning to see the genre recover now. Why did something so stilted, mediocre, sexist, and racist capture the public's imagination in such a fevered and intense way? What would fantasy look like today in a world where LotR never happened?
Kate Nepveu (mod), Mark Oshiro, Shira Lipkin, Erik Amundsen
9:30pm: Reading/presenting at Ig Nobel event!
10:00am: Fantasy Reading
Come listen to our panelists read a selection from their original fantasy works.
Matthew Kressel, Shira Lipkin, Lauren M. Roy, Julia Rios
(Note: I'm not reading fantasy? But no one asked, and no, I don't know why this year there are only ~6 reading slots altogether and they're jamming four of us into each.)
1:00pm: Arisia Curmudgeon Panel 2: Curmudgeon Harder!
Last year, we told you why things that "everyone" loves, from Middle Earth to Star Wars, from Gaiman to Whedon, suck. But one panel wasn't enough time for all the loathing we feel. This year, expect more vitriol, snark, and actual media criticism at this wide-ranging panel.
Mark Oshiro, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez, Shira Lipkin, Adam Lipkin
2:30pm: In Which the Author Has Run Out of F!?ks to Give
Often, over the course of a long series, it becomes clear that the author has run completely out of f!?ks and is spinning their wheels. You can almost see the departure of the last f!?k the author had to give. Let's discuss series that continue way past the exhaustion of inspiration.
Shira Lipkin, Meredith Schwartz, Victoria Janssen, Eric Zuckerman, Daniel Miller
8:30pm: The Future of Disability in Literature
ST:TNG was famously critiqued for having a bald captain. "Won't the cure for baldness be discovered by then?" Roddenberry replied, "By the 24th century, no one will care." Most SF novels, if they include disabled characters at all, focus on a cure narrative. For the most part, the disabled seem not to exist. Let's talk about SF with universal access, visible disabled characters, and societies that don't force a cure and choose instead to accommodate everyone, regardless of disability.
Tegan Mannino, Tanya Washburn, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Shira Lipkin
11:30am: Speculative Poetry is Awesome
Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic, personal, and powerful in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, and Liminality showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come discuss what's new and wonderful in the world of speculative poetry!
Julia Rios, Shira Lipkin, A.J. Odasso, MJ Cunniff, Gillian Daniels
Please do let me know if you want to make lunch/dinner plans!
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #6 - Winter 2015/2016
Editorial - Mattie Joiner and Shira Lipkin
“Dionysus of the Downtown” - Lev Mirov
“White: Outside of Color” - Nikk Wasserman
“How to be something not real” - Lore Graham
“Changeling Manifesto” - Kayla Bashe
“Angiogenesis” - Margarita Tenser
“My Own Lightning” - Mary Alexandra Agner
“swan” - Nolan Liebert
“What to Do With a Photosynthetic Lover” - Rohinton Daruwala
“Desert Mermaid” - Sandi Leibowitz
“Changeling” - Lynette Mejía
“The Selkie Before Summer” - Penny Stirling
“If You Find Me Out” - Toby MacNutt
(Cover art - “Not a Second Time”, by Jessica “Sieskja” Albert)
I've had this essay by s.e. smith, entitled "My Private Life is not for your Consumption",
open in a tab for a while. And I'm going to quote heavily from it here:As a public figure, I cultivate many different personas; like anyone who performs for the public to any degree, I face certain public expectations, as well as the natural desire to appeal to the people I write for, and with. My public personas aren’t fake, but they are facets of myself rather than the entirety of who I am at all times. They aren’t an unfiltered view of myself, the view that my personal friends see when they encounter me in private. They are components of a whole, parts of an identity, and I like it that way. I prefer to retain a private life and there are some things I don’t care to discuss in public.
The same is true of many other public figures — certainly of the people I talk to about the issue of private and public lives. We want to interact with people, we want to forge genuine connections with people, and we want to be active in our communities, but we also want to maintain distance. Otherwise, we become objects of public consumption, something that makes us deeply uncomfortable and that at times can be actively dangerous.
Yet, many of our fans seem to struggle with this. I hesitate to use the word ‘fan’ because it makes me feel weird, but people use it self-referentially, so I’m tentatively using it here. Despite the fact that what they see is only part of who we are, many exert a strong and troubling sense of ownership over us, and it’s especially disturbing in an era of collating data about every aspect of people’s lives. There is a sense of familiarity that can feel very offputting even as I encourage people to talk to me, to not be shy around me, because I genuinely like talking to people who enjoy my work or have interesting thoughts about it.
I see this as a passive observer sometimes when I see people with very high public profiles struggling to balance the desire and need to connect with their fans with their own personal desire to have private lives. The high-profile author who had to politely ask fans to stop ferreting out his old address and sending things to it because it was creeping out the people who bought his house from him. The author who was criticised for not providing details about a medical condition even as she was opening up about having health problems. The film star subjected to scrutiny for wanting to be left alone while doing ordinary public things like getting some food or going to, well, a movie. The person who wants to be able to ride the train without being photographed and mobbed.
I'm sharing this because it's part of why I haven't been blogging here as much.
To fully explain, let's go in the Wayback Machine and take a look at when and why I started a LiveJournal in the first place. It was early 2002, and I had just moved from Florida to Georgia, to be with my beloved yendi
. And while everything with Adam was wonderful... Adam is an introvert, and he didn't really have a community that I could step into.
So I started my LJ, as is apparent from the first posts, to keep in touch with my Florida friends. Because I was disconnected and horribly lonely. And that's the place LJ filled in me - connection. First with existing friends, then with new people who found me because LJ was very small back then, and suddenly I had 500 "friends" and, well, I was a performing monkey there for a while. Because I was deeply lonely, and here I could get little snippets of connection, even if it didn't mean much.
There was that hideous mess of harassment in 2003-2004. There was me documenting my epilepsy diagnosis and the side effects of the almost-dozen meds they put me on. Those were the days of the several-times-daily posting - not so much out of loneliness anymore, but because the drugs fucked with my short-term memory, and I needed to keep a record.
And then I moved to Boston.
I haven't looked back to see if there's a marked decline in posts then, but it wouldn't surprise me. I didn't *stop* posting, obviously. I did daily good-morning posts til quite recently. But my LJ had shifted to conversations with friends I already had.
While remaining aware of hundreds of lurkers, watching. But trying not to think about them.
In the early days, yes, I really did put everything out there. It stung during last year's harassment incident that someone accused me of being disingenuous because I hadn't posted about something that happened, that someone told me that I expose my entire life and thus the lack of a post was proof that I had not been hurt by action X at time Y.
And... no, I don't. I never did expose my entire
life. And for the last five years or so, I've been exposing very little.
Except when I was forced to, in 2013 and 2014.
And my refusal to dig up receipts and screencaps during the harassment in late 2014 mostly because I was in the middle of prep for the court case against my rapist and therefore had zero spoons, but it was partially the decision that no, I don't owe people this.
This is not me saying LJ is bad. This is me saying that viewing people on LJ as public figures of whom you find it natural to make these demands, to hurl abuse at when you don't get to see as deeply into their personal lives as you want - that's bad.
The people who need to read that sentence won't. I know.
But that's not why I'm not posting as much. I've said I'm busy, and that's true, though anyone who follows me on Tumblr knows I can take a few minutes to reblog a few things. :) But the real thing is: my life is full. I have a large community - so large that it's become a challenge! Since finishing my first novel, I know that hey, I can finish a novel, and now that I have writing time back I'm focused on that. I have dates, I have stuff I'm doing around the house, I have art stuff, I have shows and parties and museum adventures. I've spent the past couple of weeks wishing I had more time, and some time to rest.
Which doesn't lead to having much time to write long introspective posts on LJ. :) Plus, the emotional energy that went into that? I do hope y'all get to read the novel someday. Because I do it better there.
And I could be here daily telling you all the stuff I'm up to and finishing with a breezy "gotta run!", but...
The direction I've been going the past several years is the opposite of where I went when I first came to LJ. I have had the hell of fame. (That's part of what the book is about.) Whether you noticed it or not, I had been withdrawing for my own emotional well-being.
Until 2013, and being forced to reveal everything, everything, everything.
Look at that. Is it any surprise that I don't post much anymore? That I haven't done a big namecheck post about that last party, that I didn't tell you about that conversation Adam and I had?
For a while there, I had my right to privacy, my right to silence, my right to self-protection, repeatedly violated.
It used to be that me being quiet here was a sign of trouble. Now it's a sign that I'm listening to and taking care of myself.
You may or may not have noticed that the way I use LJ has changed. But I'm telling you, and I'm telling you why. I'm listening to myself, and what I need to do is have quiet spaces. What I need is to assert my right to a private life.
And if you think that's contrary to the person you've seen so far, you've been reading me wrong.
I'm still connected. I do read my friendspage, and I'm on Facebook and Tumblr, and I'm happy to interact there. And here, when I feel moved to post. But here is different now.
And now I gotta run - my boyfriend will be here soon, and after we spend the day together, I'm going to a Marian Call concert with Adam and Aimee. All good things.
I hope you're well. I may do an ask me/tell me anything post sometime soon. I'll see you then. :)
This is a shared post, in case that's insufficiently clear! Also I am deeply tempted by those mezuzot.
Originally posted by kythryne
at ten years!
Hi, LJ! Anybody still out here, or have you all moved to Twitter and Facebook like me?
My friend Brooklyn
took this photo recently, and I love it because it so perfectly sums up my job: I get to hold magic in my hands every day.
I wanted to write something eloquent and beautiful about art and faith and Wyrding Studios turning ten... but then I woke up last Friday with a respiratory infection that landed me in bed for a day and a half. I've been racing to catch up ever since, and there's a symmetry to that.
I don't actually know when I "officially" launched WS back in 2005. I know my last day at my old job was October 15th, and I know I planned to do a grand opening on November 1st, but I came down with the flu and ended up just unceremoniously putting a bunch of shinies on the website sometime in early November and I never looked back.
And for the past ten years, that's been my life. Unpredictable. Full of unplanned detours. Always running a little behind, always leaving something unfinished at the end of the day. never quite getting enough sleep.
But always, always, magic.
Writing something eloquent? It's not happening tonight, and I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. So instead, I'm just going to repeat something from last year's anniversary letter, because every word is still true.
This is my love letter to all of you. Some of you have been with me from the very start, some of you found me over the years, some of you have just stumbled across me today, or last week. You’ve shared your stories with me, trusted me with your secrets so that I could make them into art for you, sent me silly things in the mail, kept me company virtually when I’ve worked far too late into the night, bought my work, told your friends about it. You’ve helped keep a small business - and the woman behind it - going for nine ten years. A quarter of my life.
Thank you. I write something like this every year, and every year I don’t really have the words to say how much it means. This year, more than any other year before, I don’t have the words. Just… thank you. And there is gratitude, and hope. Because I’m pretty sure I’m learning to fly on my way down.
Thank you. It's been a wonderful ten years. Let's keep going.
Okay, that's enough schmoop. It's getting too dusty in here. Let's get on to the details and the deals!
- Lots of new shinies, including some from my personal collection that I've decided to send out into the world because I never wear them.
- Coupon code TENYEARS takes $10 off any order of $45 or more, plus you'll get a free exclusive anniversary pendant that will never be available for purchase.
- Spend $50 or more (after discounts are applied) and you'll automatically get free domestic shipping too!
Also, meet Jackdaw, the newest (and noisiest) resident of Magpie House. She turned up on my doorstep the day before Halloween, and when I realized she was declawed, I took her in. She's not microchipped and I haven't been able to turn up her owners, so... she's living in my studio until I can afford to get her to a vet for bloodwork so I can start socializing her with my other critters. And if anyone knows how to make my printer stop printing eleventy-three copies of the Amazon return label I printed the other day, please let me know, because no amount of clearing my print queue or turning it off and back on seems to undo whatever she did to it.
I've been saying I need to get back to posting here, but life has been boring because I have had the Death Cold that's been going around. Which has turned into acute bronchitis + bronchospasm, because my lungs.
This happens often. My lungs getting colonized, turning what would have been a quick misery for a healthy person into a month-long ordeal for me. I was hanging in there all last week, but took a turn for the worse this weekend; managed to hold on until this morning, called my doctor - and found that he was out for Columbus Day. >.< So. Urgent Care.
It's been a really long time since I've had to go to Urgent Care or the ER for anything to do with my lungs; last time I went was because of the broken foot, and that was very clearly A Problem. I was concerned that I wouldn't be taken seriously about my symptoms, that they'd dismiss it as just a cold, that I'd be all tiny and frustrated and not-listened-to as I tried to explain that my lungs do this all the time and I'm really not in here over nothing. I'm really medically fragile, not Hysterical.
And then the doctor swooped in, looked at my brief medical history, and said "Oh, EDS! What type?" and I knew I would be okay. Because a doctor who knows about EDS knows that people with vEDS have fucked-up hollow organs. He knew that I was in there because sometimes when vEDS patients' lungs are unhappy, they'll just fucking collapse (which mine did when I was hospitalized for pneumonia twice as a kid).
My lungs are apparently super loud right now. Which made him chuckle, because he knows chronic pain patients - how we present as looking pretty okay and speaking in full sentences when in reality shit has gone very wrong in our bodies. I might be a little textbook there.
So I got a nebulizer treatment. And that helped a *little* bit, but not enough, so I got 60mg of prednisone right there and a prescription for more, plus Robitussin with codeine.
"Do not hesitate," he said, "to come back here if you have any more difficulty breathing, or if you start coughing up anything green. Seriously. Come right back
." I should've come earlier. I'll do better next time.
But yeah, I won the Urgent Care lottery. Seriously. This never happens.
I hate Robitussin.gizmometer
is also sick, and was talking about taking Dimetapp and liking it, and I full-body shuddered, because Dimetapp is the flavor of my childhood. My respiratory system has been screwy since I was four, and I used to have to take Dimetapp every night. I hated
it. I remember bargaining with my mom - if I took my Dimetapp, I got five pretzel sticks. No, ten. No, fifteen.
(Childhood with fucked-up lungs: Dimetapp, Ventolin pills, leaning over a sink full of hot water with a towel over my head to keep the steam in, oxygen tent in the hospital, the hideous shock of pneumothorax.)
I took my damn Robitussin, because I don't think the bronchitis has ever been quite this bad, and I have to take it seriously. Or maybe this is basic bronchitis and I'm just nervous because of the vEDS diagnosis, because I know more ways in which this can hurt me.
(Different people treat me different ways, when they grok that my body is not a healthy body. I like Matthew's response: he tucks the knowledge away and treats me no differently. Pity frustrates and annoys me; it accomplishes nothing. Trust that I'm taking care of myself and will let you know if there's a problem or if I need an accommodation, and give me days where I can go without thinking about it.)
So that's where I am right now. No spoons. Steroids. Rest and hydration.
When I was talking about how I needed to get back to posting here, I asked melebeth
what I should post about; she said zombies. I have already written my final word on zombies! So here it is: "Becca at the End of the World"
Got any Arisia literature track panel ideas? Drop 'em here! Erik and I could use a little help filling out our track, given the lack of usable suggestions in the forums. Please give us an idea and a description - title and precis would be perfect!
Again, never time to write anything substantive on here!
* Aimee had job interviews yesterday and today, so I had some scraps of writing time. "The Hollow" continues apace. Once again, I'm choosing to do things I've never done before...
* Life is busy! Adam and I are going to Ghost Quartet
tonight, and we're all going to Best of Sirlesque 2
on Friday (Aimee and I are stage kittening). Also there are dates. Also houseguests.
* Redyed my hair pink and purple with some teal bits. Need to take pictures.
* Once I've had a little more time in this air conditioning, I need to venture back to the dining room and decide which of the poems we bought this cycle will be in the next issue of Liminality
, and which we'll be holding for the winter issue!
* Consider subscribing or sponsoring Liminality
! I deliberately planned sustainability into our business model so we'd never be dependent on the endless cycle of Kickstarters and Indiegogos. But more money = more poems. :)
* Elayna is back at college! She's enjoying her semester so far. We had her at home for just the right amount of time, the tail end of this summer.
* Nicky had his followup echocardiogram, and it looks like his meds are working! Yay Nicky! (EDIT: Just realized I never posted here about this! At his annual checkup, they discovered a heart murmur; they had me bring him back in June, and it had gotten worse, so he had his first echo. Heart disease. :( But the meds and early cardiac diet are working! We are committed to keeping this pup happy and healthy for as long as possible! Echos are expensive, though, man.) Also, I bought him his Halloween costume; he's going to be a dragon
* Arisia scheduling is happening. Got any literature panel ideas? Give 'em here!
* I'm looking at my calendar to figure out what else to update people on. I go to a bunch of shows, I have a bunch of dates, I have been going to a lot of parties! I'm looking forward to autumn.
And now I must go do more work! But ask me for updates on stuff in comments, if you're curious.
Because at, I think, the last three parties, it's come up, and it makes me smile: How Matthew and I got together. :)
Last March, I went to a party. And there was this guy there who had amazing bouncy-puppy energy, who I was instantly drawn to. Not just because he's very attractive. :) But because he's silly, funny, smart. We had a great conversation, and I friended him on Facebook when I got home and, some days later, sent him a link to an interesting news story that had some bearing on a topic we'd talked about.
Okay, I thought, he doesn't want to pursue this. That's okay. Not everyone has to be into me! And I went about my life.
In June, there was another party. We chatted again, it was fun, I was still totally interested in him. About a week after that party, I did the same thing: "Great to see you again! Here is more info about X!"
Okay. *shrug* *kicks can* At this point I had a couple other things going on in my love life, no big deal, and if all I have with Matthew is fun conversations at parties, that's okay, because fun conversations are still good!
Halloween party. He's the Big Bad Wolf and not wearing much. I'm in my corset, leather vest, and elaborate headdress with seed pods and feathers. At some point in the party, we drift into conversation, sprawled on the floor in one of the social rooms, and then our thighs are pressed together, and then his hand is on mine...
...and at some point when we part, I'm laughing: "I thought you weren't interested!"
The thing is that he is never on Facebook! (I checked while writing this; the last time he posted was in February. The time before that? Over a year ago.) And doesn't get notifications of FB messages. He had no clue. :)
So this time, I got his e-mail address. :)
When we met up for our first date, he cautioned me that he doesn't usually date. He does casual stuff, but if I was looking for a boyfriend, he was not where to look; his bond with his wife is so strong that he tends to just not form other bonds, and he's a homebody, and a date-every-week thing wasn't likely to happen. I told him, quite honestly, that that was fine. :) And we took up with each other. Casually.
Until we had a few weeks in a row when we didn't see each other and fell into each other's arms like long-lost lovers when we saw each other again.
Until someone at a party said "Wait, he actually leaves the house for you? He's never..."
Until he paused before leaving my house one date-day, and had this look when he looked back.
Until, finally, his amused/exasperated wife said "You can't stop talking about the gin Shira had you try, or the TV show she had you watch... Matthew. I think you might have a girlfriend."
He told me this while he was in the shower, through a frosted pane of glass, ending with "...would you be okay with that? Us actually being boyfriend and girlfriend?"
I slid the shower door open to grin at him. "Honey, you have a dedicated towel and toothbrush here. And I smile every time I walk past them."
So. Matthew, who doesn't date anyone, is dating me, and I am dating him, and together we have the kind of energy that makes random strangers grin at us on the street or when we greet each other at a restaurant. He is, above all else, playful. And adorable and adoring. When I had my bout of depression in April, one of the only things that consistently lifted me out of that flatline space was time with him.
He shines. I shine with him.
He is good for me. <3
I had a gathering recently that I'd had a bit of anxiety about, and he accompanied me, and we had a great time, and when he dropped me off home that night, he stopped me and kissed me again, and said "I'm so glad you pursued me, my Shira."
And he's on his way over right now, to accompany me to a night full of parties, and sleep over on the new bed he helped me build. I should go get ready. <3
EDIT: ...also he looks like Chris Evans as Captain America, but with dark hair and glasses, which make any person 20% hotter. But that kind of build. Also he volunteers with homeless kids and gives me amazing massages on bad pain days and he's just really nifty okay? okay.
And no longer waiting; obviously there's a lot of stuff I can neither confirm nor deny, but: I had goals. All of them were achieved.
And I finally bought a new bed, after these long two years. It's a canopy bed. We're going to adorn it with fairy lights and various accoutrements.
We're having a yardwork day on Saturday; rototilling and clearing out the back yard entirely, in preparation for doing intentional planting. We consulted a landscape design person to pick native, easy-care plants, and we're planning a few garden beds, an herb spiral, wildflowers, and a lot of berry bushes - currant, elderberry, blueberry, blackberry. And we've reserved room for a seating area. This will finally be usable space and not a source of stress!
But first, the tilling and the hauling, and if you want to/can help, you are welcome to! And if you happen to have bricks or stone lying around that we can use for the herb spiral, let us know!
And my audition for The Thing is Sunday. Meep!
But today's mission: synopsis. I have queried all the agents I think would be great fits who *don't* require one, and now I have this big list of great agents who *do*, and... I gotta get it done.
Writing a novel is easy. Writing a synopsis is hard.
But I must do it today, so I can then focus on my audition material for Sunday, the story that I started last week, and, hell, everything else.
I am still waiting
But I dyed the tips of my hair a bright, vivid pink (that is fading, but we'll bring it back) and highlighted the rest of it. I have started the reclamation of my backyard; it's going to have berry bushes and a seating area and a raised bed and an herb spiral. I have, with my boyfriend's input, picked out my future new bed
Readercon was; the ongoing waiting made it difficult, as it makes many things difficult. But I talked about a book that changed my life (Dhalgren
) on a panel, and the man who wrote it (Samuel R. Delany) thanked me, genuinely, for my reading and appreciation of it. That was a big, big moment. And I read from the novel, and everyone really liked it and picked up on stuff I was doing and thought I was doing it really well.
Friday night, I went to a barbecue at the house of a friend who is new-ish, since The Incident. There's a before and after, you know. There are people who've only really known me since. He greeted me with a hug and told me there were kofta on the grill, the same recipe that another friend(/occasional lover) had brought to my Pig Cotillion, and I liked that there was just this ecosystem of parties. Aimee's realizing that, as she lives here, this very very large group of wonderful people that just form and reform in various configurations every weekend, sometimes with the transmission of recipes. I am happy to be here.
And then we went to a burlesque/comedy/variety show, where I saw some of my favorite performers, and the people who knew about the Intimidating Thing I'm attempting (more on that after my audition!) (no, it is not dancing!) were so enthusiastic about me attempting it and so happy that I just felt... tremendously supported.
I am excited about the New Horizons mission to Pluto. I'm reading a lot. I'm knitting a lot. I will, this week, have my first writing time since March, and I have a story demanding to get out. Before that writing time, I have a date-day with my boyfriend, who is sort of miraculously my boyfriend. He decided he didn't need a code name, and then
the potential code names started emerging: Golden Retriever Boyfriend, Farmboy, etc. Matthew. He's Matthew, and one of the things about him is that he is joyful. I have to write about him more, and other people I'm on various paths with. I haven't been writing here because it feels like I have to have Large Things to say and I have the one background Large Thing and then I have smaller things. I should talk about the smaller things more.
It's been a busy and active weekend, and today I'll be resting, because tonight I'm going to a show, and tomorrow is Matthew, and on Tuesday I'll start writing "The Hollow" and will hope it doesn't insist on being a novel. (Everything wants to be a novel know that I know that I can write a novel.)
Wearing: The tank top and underpants I slept in.
Reading: On the Move
by Oliver Sacks
Writing: "The Hollow", soon
in hot pink for Elayna; just finished a Through the Loops MKAL.
Planning: A week of writing. An Intimidating Thing. Buying my new bed, hopefully soon.
Copy/pasting this directly from my pro blog.
...this one is personal.
I saw a call for stories dealing with the concept of institutions. The call was deliberately loosely defined; a story about the institution of marriage, say, would have fit. But my brain kept cycling back to something and saying "maybe it's time." And would not let it go.
I grew up in the 80s. Toward the middle and end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, there was a horrific trend. If your child did not conform, and you had good health insurance, you could put them into an adolescent treatment center.
Junior loony bin, we called it on the inside.
There's a song about it, even.
I have so much more to write, about that and things like it. This is just a glimpse. Some of my stories are pretty autobiographical. This one? I don't have any ink. But.
And I shan't tell you more; go read."Never Chose This Way" was published in Apex Magazine in July 2015.
Readercon is July 9-12!
1:30 PM Reading: Shira Lipkin. Shira Lipkin reads a forthcoming short story.
4:00 PM Dhalgren at 40. Jim Freund, Max Gladstone, Elizabeth Hand (leader), Shira Lipkin, John Stevens.
Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren was first published in 1975. It is now widely considered a classic, yet there is also the perception that it is a "difficult" book. How much has it influenced other authors and works? Does its dream-city serve as a predecessor for more recent fantastical places such as Ambergris or New Crobuzon? How have its experiments with the form of the narrative inspired more recent works? And how might a reader approach it for the first time from the vantage point of 2015?
7:00 PM Kaffeeklatsch. Yoon Lee, Shira Lipkin.
10:00 AM Successfully Writing About Horrible Things. Mike Allen, Catt Kingsgrave, Shira Lipkin, Kate Nepveu (leader), Patty Templeton.
If you're not writing horror but your plot calls for something horrific to happen to a character, how do you handle it? You might go overboard and be detailed to the point of undermining or derailing the narrative, or might be so vague that the horrific event has little effect on the reader or the story. A reader who's been through a similar experience might be offended or distressed by a description of awfulness that's lurid, gratuitous, clichéd, or bland. What strategies can writers use to help readers empathize with the characters' suffering and build stories that respectfully handle the consequences of terrible events, without falling into these traps?
1:00 PM In Memoriam YA Fiction Book Club: Hat Full of Sky. Stacie Hanes, Victoria Janssen, Shira Lipkin, Rachel Steiger-Meister, Emily Wagner. The second book in the Tiffany Aching series sees Pratchett's young heroine ready to begin her magical apprenticeship, which goes nothing like she expects and leads to trouble, especially with other young witches-in-training. What she doesn't know is that something insidious is coming after her, and none of the other witches can help. We wanted to do something to mark the death of genre giant Pratchett, and while any of his books would be worth talking about, the Tiffany Aching series is some of his most thoughtful work. The adventures of a young girl learning what it means to be a witch speak deeply to readers, as she demystifies some aspects of witchery and finds deeper mysteries of life and magic in others, all while learning to be clever, kind, and brave. Readers of all ages are welcome to join the conversation.
Yay for a light schedule, and yay for this being the last con I have to do this year. (Didn't do Boskone or Vericon, and won't be doing PiCon; consciously cutting back.) As usual, if you do nothing else, please come to the reading and/or kaffeeklatsch!
is an interesting thing about batterer's intervention programs in the state of Massachusetts. I recommend that you check it out! Of particular interest, though not mentioned on the Mass.Gov site, is the fact that in order to begin a batterer's intervention program, the perpetrator must confess to the abuse. Not just "my partner/ex claims I did X," but "I did X, Y, and Z to my partner/ex." Treatment only works when the perpetrator is actually working on it. It's not a process one can lie their way through. Which is why the success rate is high (see study info on that site). And which is also why, if a perpetrator is attending a program of this sort, they might take measures to keep their victim from stating that they're doing so: it is an admission of guilt. Obviously this is the second-most-desirable outcome in an intimate partner violence/sexual violence case - the most desirable, of course, being jail time, but a) that's a different system, criminal rather than civil, and b) only 6% of rapists ever go to jail, and that statistic includes *all* rapists; it's much lower for rapists who were in a relationship with their victims, who only rarely even get arrested, let alone tried and convicted.
Obviously, as someone who's been speaking about sexual violence on The Internets since 2002 and who's been volunteering at their local rape crisis center since '08 - go BARCC! - this is stuff that is of interest to me. People who've known me for a while will also recall that I've been planning to write a book about how to dismantle rape culture in your free time. That's mutated a bit, and will now be more about intimate partner violence; I feel like that's a useful place to focus, given its prevalence in the number of incidents of sexual violence and its shockingly low rate of prosecution. That'll be my summer/fall nonfiction writing project. I might post a few things like this here and there as my research continues. I look forward to telling you lot more about it in January.
(Comments closed for now because my parents, sister, and niece are in town and monopolizing my time; I only get ~5 minutes at a computer every day, and thus cannot moderate.)