Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
First Editions 
20th-Oct-2014 10:08 am(no subject)
A list is a post.

* Sold a story! Of the few I wrote this summer, this is the one where I knew right off that I had achieved my writerly goal. Looking forward to sharing it with more people.

* Invited to perform at The Literary Roast! And I have ideas about what to do at it. (Yes, I don't want to be A Performer, but I'm doing a reading, not burlesque. There will be burlesque there. It'll be fun.)

* The only thing I want to do less than finish this novel is end the week with it unfinished. So I need to get down to that.

Down periscope.
17th-Oct-2014 10:35 am - Seizure Lass Rides Again
Just a brief catchup before I dive back into the novel (assume all silence these days is due to the novel, btw).

The story so far: Diagnosed with epilepsy in 2003. Years of hell meds that pulverized my brain and body in various ways. Declared independence from anti-seizure meds in 2012. Seizures well-controlled through lifestyle choices (sleep dep and stress are my biggest triggers); I occasionally get a simple partial, but that's infrequent.

Couple weeks ago, I got something new: full-body violent shaking. Huh.

So I went to my doctor, who sent me to a new neurologist (I quit the last one because she was unresponsive when I was having life-threatening side effects on my last seizure med).

Me: *tries to give nutshell story-so-far*
Neuro: *keeps interrupting and asking questions that make it clear she's not listening*


Neuro: "Who diagnosed you?"
Me: "Oh, it was back in Atlanta - [HELL DOCTOR] at [HELL UNIVERSITY]."
Neuro, visibly brightening: "Oh! I studied under her! She's up here now, at [other medical group]!"
Me: *attempts to keep from visibly recoiling*

So, y'know, that set the tone.

*rubs temples*

So. There was a long appointment of her talking over me and not listening to me.

Neuro: "So what happened a few months ago?"
Me: "Weeks."
Neuro: "But before that, a few months ago?"
Me: "Nothing happened a few months ago. This happened two weeks ago."

Neuro: "So describe your seizures in 2003 - convulsions and....?"
Me: "No. No convulsions. Complex partial seizures."

Which I had already told her.

And the thing about neuros is that neuros like drugs.

Now, I am not opposed to taking medications that are actually necessary. I take Toprol for my supraventricular tachycardia. The Toprol controls the SVT well, and I don't get noticeable side effects from it. I take Lunesta because sleep dep causes seizures and I literally cannot fall asleep without Lunesta. I use my inhaler when I need it.

But every single anti-seizure med I've been on has given me massive unliveable side effects. And none of them reduced my overall number or severity of seizures more than my lifestyle changes have. So. I will not take them. They do not help. They always harm.

Try telling that to a neurologist.

Neuro: "But every seizure is potentially life-threatening, and there's the risk of sudden death, and..."
Me: "And some of these side effects are life-threatening, and SUDEP happens to people who are on medication too, and every single drug on your list has the warning "may cause increased seizures" on it."
Neuro: "...there's Vimpat? That's new?"
Me: "Heart-related side effects. I have SVT that's perfectly controlled right now and I am not messing with that."

So nobody came out of that happy.


So the plan is to keep going as I have been and hope I don't have another of those Mystery Events. If I do, I'll be talking to my regular doctor - and next time I see him, I'll be talking to him about this appointment and advising him not to send people to this neuro on the grounds that she Does Not Listen.


On the plus side medically, my genome has been fully sequenced! Next doctor appointment, we'll hopefully know what kind of mutant I am.
10th-Oct-2014 09:35 am - Good old-fashioned Friday Memeage
Wearing: Green long-sleeved tee, jeans, happy bacon & eggs socks.

Reading: Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall, having just finished Rooms by Lauren Oliver.

Writing: The novel-in-progress, which is at a place where I can totally see the end from here, which is alternately thrilling and frustrating. I've never been this close to the end of a novel before.

Knitting: Just started a purple Laetiporus scarf for ashlyme; I spent much of my timecrunched September working on thinner yarn/smaller needles, so I needed something chunkier!

Planning: Tonight will be a catching up around the house night; tomorrow, there's a Marian Call concert at 2 at Pandemonium, and two parties in the evening. Sunday we're going to J.A.S.O.N., "a comic re-imagining of The Argonautica & Euripides' Medea retold as Punk Rock band on their one-and-only tour." Half-price ticket link in that event....

I still owe y'all a post on how the foster care thing is going! But not today. Today I am using my "Write like a motherfucker" coffee mug, and that is a promise to myself.

(Yes, lately, unless acted upon by outside forces, it is all writing, copyediting, foster care stuff, et cetera.)
8th-Oct-2014 10:53 am - Secret vs. Private
The night I kittened, I was talking to a friend about my current friend-with-benefits, who I've been calling The Major-General on Twitter (because he's played that role twice). I've made the decision to not name him here or anywhere online for Various Reasons, but it isn't A Secret that we have something going on; anyone who sees us interact in person knows, though they tend to assume we're dating. I get a lot of sidelong "How long have you guys been an item?" when he goes to get another drink or whatever.

And my friend said "Yes! It's the difference between secret and private!"

And I was like YES.

I mean, I have a bunch of reasons, such as my exes have actually had people call the places of work of people who don't support them unquestioningly, and have done various and sundry other creepinesses, so I don't want to expose anyone to that.

But it is actually a big huge deal to me to be able to be private.

Judah was a spotlight person, and that meant a lot of our relationship was pretty public. The aftermath was MASSIVELY public, given that I needed word spread that he was a rapist... and my exes, Michael in particular, were massively performative when it was public that we were dating, but before we went public, it was a huge secret I dare not tell. So. Living with an unwanted spotlight on one side and Big Secrets on the other. Whiplash. And being forced to be so public about everything since Judah...

It was, at first, just a delicious little non-harmful secret when I started up with the Major-General. Just "I know a happy-making thing no one else knows!"

And then it became "...I don't have to tell anyone."

The only people who need to know who I'm schtupping are Adam and Mat. I don't have to tell anyone else. The only people he has to tell are the other people he's schtupping. (And, uh, his housemates are aware, oops. We mostly hook up at my place now.) And he's not super performative anyway, so that works out really well for both of us.

Secrets feel toxic to me; they have since I was a kid. This isn't a secret. This is the first chance I've had in years to be private.

And I am taking it and loving it. <3 There is an unexpected freedom there.

(If you know who I'm talking about - and if you've been to a party we've both been at, you almost certainly do - please don't ID him in comments. I am totally fine with you knowing, but it is really nice to not have strangers all up in my business!)
If you follow me on Facebook, it cannot have escaped your notice that I am super into burlesque. I go to kinda a lot of shows. I volunteered at local burlesque expo Alterna-Tease.

And last month, one of the leaders of local all-guy troupe Sirlesque posted on Facebook that they were looking for volunteers for one of their shows. I thought "Cool, I can go to a show for free!" and e-mailed the stage manager, whereupon I was told that there were three options: taking tickets, selling merch, and stage kittening.

I had a moment of "well, tickets, obviously" but then a moment of "wait! Year of Being Brave. Um. Kittening."

(What is stage kittening? In the course of a burlesque show, many items of clothing are shed and flung in various directions. After the routine is over, someone comes out and gathers everything up so the next routine can happen. That person is the stage kitten.)

So I arrived, reported to the stage manager, got my set list and tech sheets, and chatted with people. The #1 question was "Are we going to see you up there dancing sometime soon?" A natural question, given that that's a normal trajectory, from assisting to screwing up the courage to dance oneself. "Probably not!" I said, giving my usual and totally valid answer: my body is unreliable, and I wouldn't want to commit to a performance and have to pull out because my body did a weirdness.

And then OMG SHOW.

So let me tell you which skillsets surprise-intersected here. Because I find this fascinating - this has been a year of me being good at surprising things and realizing that that's so because of multiple skills that you wouldn't have guessed would equal anything in particular when put together.

1. I am a tiny human. 102 pounds right now, though 108 then (yeah, last week and stress nausea.) This means I can be incredibly compact and unobtrusive in the wings. The wings, at Club Cafe, are very tiny.

2. I have pretty much zero need for personal space in that sort of situation. Yeah, somebody's butt is pressed against me, but in a totally professional way!

3. Near-photographic spatial memory. Adam knows this superpower best, as he is always misplacing things.

"Where's my book?"
"I last saw it on top of the microwave half an hour ago."
"Why would I-"
"I don't know, but I refilled my coffee half an hour ago and that's where it was."

The coffeepot is nowhere near the microwave, but my brain clocks every single thing in the room and tags anything that's out of place. Not consciously, but if you ask me where in the house a thing is, I will know where it is. Unless someone put it back in the wrong place and I haven't been in the room since.

I keep forgetting that other people do not have this?

But that's why the stage manager was surprised that her brand-new kitten could collect all artfully-flung clothing in record time. Watch routine, clock where things land, plot course that allows for most efficient and unobtrusive collection of stuff, one trip around the stage and surrounding environs, done.

"You got everything?"

(They have another show at the end of the month and asked for volunteers again; I offered, and she said "you're a shoo-in!")

So, right, intersecting skillsets make me good at a thing, but what did I learn?

That, holy hell, I am more uncomfortable than ever with having a spotlight on me.

At one point in the show, the MC called attention to us and told the audience to thank us, and I had to go out and do a little curtsey, and I was like "ACK NO OKAY I AM SMILING BUT I WANT YOU TO IGNORE ME" and scampered back offstage as soon as I could. Ditto during the curtain call.

So I have been saying that I probably do not want to actually do burlesque as a dancer, and that really solidifies it. Because I loved kittening, but what I loved about it was that it hit all of my Making Things Go buttons, that I got to work backstage, that I got to help make a super-fun show happen...

But I really really just do not want anyone looking at me! (From the audience. Had fun goofing off with dancers.) I want to help as invisibly as possible.

That's a good thing to know! And it plays into my next post.
6th-Oct-2014 04:27 pm - Why there's been less LJ
Here is my day so far!

* Awakened by dog whining. Tell dog to stop whining. Dog complies. (Dog is awesome.) Drift awake slowly. Realize that it is 9.

* walk dog feed dog shower breakfast work-related e-mails brief catchup on LJ friendslist because I gotta be out by 10.

* Doctor! because I had an atypical probable-seizure Thursday night. And have been feeling... off since then. About an hour of talking + testing; my supraventricular tachycardia could've set off the weirdness, so I got an EKG, and I could be overmedicated because of how significant the stress-based weight loss has been, et cetera, so blood draw. Referral to neurologist. Setting up a general plan.

* Rush home, walk dog, get voicemail about Bash's test results (he is peeing on things and the urine smells sweet, so he had bloodwork Saturday; bloodwork mostly clear, slight ambiguity, need to talk to vet). Call vet back, leave message. Make neurologist appointment for next week. Quick work e-mails and base-touching with family about Bash as I eat lunch.

* Three-hour foster care home study! This was the deep background interview. I'll write more about this entire process in its own post.

* Walk dog. Missed vet call during home study - call back, leave message, apologize profusely. Should get call back in half an hour.


Now I need to hang up clean clothes while waiting for the vet to call. At 7 I'm picking up the equipment for my at-home sleep study. I have remembered to put my checkbook in my purse! (They require a check for $75 as collateral, to be voided upon return of equipment.)

Then I get to watch TV?

So yeah. Life is busy. And this is it starting to slow down...

Tomorrow is blissfully free after I return the sleep study equipment. Tomorrow, I write.
4th-Oct-2014 03:01 pm - So here's what actually happened.
Knowing is half the battle
I wasn't going to write any further on this, as the Twitter stuff has degenerated into... well, no one there's interested in truth.

But the Readercon Safety Committee contacted me last night asking for my account of events, so I've written it up. Where it says "see attached screenshot", I haven't included the screenshots here because they identify various people. I've redacted the names in this account as well, where they are not clearly publicly identifiable by public Twitter posts. I feel for the people who've been dragged into this, and I don't want to exacerbate the pressure they must already be feeling.

Seriously, if you don't already know what this is about, rejoice in not having to care about it.Collapse )

Comments are closed because this ridiculousness has already taken up too much of my time. Thank you, drive through.
2nd-Oct-2014 09:11 am - FYI
B5: End in Fire
Due to concerns about yesterday's rapidly-escalating harassment, I do not feel safe attending Capclave this year. I hope to attend in 2015, and hope to figure out a way to see my DC-area friends sooner than that. (If you don't know what this is about, count yourself fortunate.)
2nd-Oct-2014 08:38 am - General updatery
I owe a lot of posts! But my Month of Busy did not, alas, magically end just because September ended. Things are drawing to a close, but they're not there yet! Three more rows on the deadline knitting, a little more on the novel, et cetera... and I thought I'd have a bit of a break from the foster care process after the month of intensive class, but I think they must be fast-tracking us, because they wanted to start the home studies this week! So tidying up is another thing to do today, because Adam's intensive interview is tomorrow afternoon; he returns from Orlando tonight, and won't have time to help. (Yes. Timing. Interesting in a number of ways.)

I absolutely need to give you the following posts; hold me to this.

* The foster care process
* Things I learned about myself by stage kittening
* Private vs. secret

Deadline stuff comes first, but I hope I can get to one of those today. No guarantees, but I'll try.
27th-Sep-2014 02:05 pm(no subject)
Tiala - xana art
eugie is gone.

I just - can't with words anymore right now.
22nd-Sep-2014 08:29 am - Liminality #1.
MLP: Pinkie So Excited

(art by M.C.A. Hogarth)

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #1
Autumn 2014

Editorial - Mat Joiner and Shira Lipkin

A Summoning of Monsters” – Jack Hollis Marr

Love Letters for the Itinerant” – Lisa M. Bradley

The Furtive Pantheon” – Erik Amundsen

The devil riding your back” – Gabby Reed

A Broken Heart” – Lev Mirov

Arson Poetica” – Dana Koster

For Sale” – Susan Carlson

Sacred” – Gemma Files

Made Out of the Terror” – Jazz Sexton

Collyer” – Rachel Verkade

Self-Portrait as Bilbo Baggins” – Ada Hoffmann

Topological Grief” – Mary Alexandra Agner

Ghosting” – Lynette Mejía

Love in Graduate School” – Cassandra Phillips-Sears

Scion” – G.K. Hansen

The Knowing” – Alicia Cole

moss covered” – Amber Bird

Sea Widow” – J.C. Runolfson

The Word for Love” – Adrienne J. Odasso

Orpheus Rides West/Letter to Eurydice from Deep Inside the Teenage Wasteland” – Nate Maxson

Make the Night Go Faster” – Sofia Samatar

17th-Sep-2014 09:15 am - Austerity
A thing I haven't written about because we have been way busy...

Elayna transferred schools this year, from a private college to a state college. Which should have been less expensive, given also that she was accepted there for freshman year and offered a generous financial aid package.

Reader, they screwed us.

Elayna knew early on that she wanted to transfer. She contacted her new school to ask about the process and was told not to apply until after she'd been to their Transfer Students Day. Which was seven days after their preferred financial aid deadline.

Adam double-checked with them. They told us yes, that's correct, the procedure for transfer students = apply after that day, don't worry, it's just a preferred deadline.

I think you all see where this is going. Yes. She got nothing. Last year they offered her thousands in aid. This year, zero. And what else could we do, send her back to the school that was making her miserable?

So this is why we're paying $400 a month for tuition here (after application of the appropriate sliver of her insufficient college fund), as opposed to $150 a month last year.

And yes, this is in addition to the $600/month hole in our budget left by Judah. We're still paying that portion of the rent on the second paycheck of the month; thank goodness for an understanding landlord.

*wry smile* If we didn't have those things, we'd actually be in a really good financial situation right now.

Also, Judah's deposition has been scheduled, and I have to find $500 to pay for *that*. Which... I can't even think about right now. And winter is coming, and, with it, the skyrocketing of our gas bill...

I am putting this all out here because it is a major undercurrent of stress running through every aspect of my life right now, and because I hope that putting it here will stop the panic-loop in my head. Yeah, we're screwed. We will be slightly less screwed in the spring, but still screwed. Summer is really the earliest anything can get any kind of manageable unless something really big changes.


(Yes, I continue to look for jobs. Why does everything part-time require the ability to drive, even office work?)
16th-Sep-2014 02:01 pm(no subject)
Pretty much you should assume that life for the next few weeks at least =

* Liminality
* the novel
* PT
* MAPP classes for foster care (twice weekly, Wednesday nights and all day Saturday)
* Arisia prep - please send me lit track panel ideas!

And I just took on two copyediting jobs, too, because Elayna's college... well, long story, but we are paying a lot for it.

So that's me. Head-down busy!
15th-Sep-2014 09:56 am(no subject)
Create Something Beautiful Today
Next week you will get to see the wonderfulness ashlyme and I have been bouncing about. :) For now: behold the ToC of Liminality #1!

“A Summoning of Monsters” – Jack Hollis Marr

“Love Letters for the Itinerant” – Lisa M. Bradley

“The Furtive Pantheon” – Erik Amundsen

“The devil riding your back” – Gabby Reed

“A Broken Heart” – Lev Mirov

“Arson Poetica” – Dana Koster

“For Sale” – Susan Carlson

“Sacred” – Gemma Files

“Made Out of the Terror” – Jazz Sexton

“Collyer” – Rachel Verkade

“Self-Portrait as Bilbo Baggins” – Ada Hoffmann

“Topological Grief” – Mary Alexandra Agner

“Ghosting” – Lynette Mejía

“Love in Graduate School” – Cassandra Phillips-Sears

“Scion” – G.K. Hansen

“The Knowing” – Alicia Cole

“moss covered” – Amber Bird

“Sea Widow” – J.C. Runolfson

“The Word for Love” – Adrienne J. Odasso

“Orpheus Rides West/Letter to Eurydice from Deep Inside the Teenage Wasteland” – Nate Maxson

“Make the Night Go Faster” – Sofia Samatar

(You can subscribe or sponsor here!)
12th-Sep-2014 01:51 pm - And Charlotte. :(
So part of pet ownership is evaluating what the pet really needs - for Nick, that was time and space, but for Charlotte, it's being a solo cat. Locals, have you a currently-pet-free home for a beautiful little girl-cat? She is an absolute darling as long as she doesn't have to deal with other pets!

Charlotte left her last home because she needed more human attention; she vented her frustration by peeing on her owner's bed. She hasn't done that here (peed in the dining room once), so having a human around really does help her.

She is a doll; she'll give you lots of affection when there are no other pets around! She's a jumper and climber, and loves toys; she comes with a cat tree, a bunch of toys, a litter boxes, et cetera.

We can transport her a short-ish distance (New Hampshire, sure! Georgia, no!), but obviously a local home would be ideal. Also because we'd like to see her again!
*sigh* I didn't want to write this. But. I can no longer deny that she really needs to be the only pet in her home.
12th-Sep-2014 10:11 am - Towards a More Pettable Dog
So we adopted Nicodemus in late December. Full story here, but the info you need is that he was a stray for some undeterminable amount of time and had all the puppy PTSD you'd expect. He bonded hard to me and Elayna, and very much wanted no part of anyone else; it took him about a month to get comfortable with Adam, even. And... he was not a pettable dog. Which was a sadness, because I wanted to snuggle him! He did curl up next to me from the very beginning - his natural position = pressed against my thigh, when I'm sitting on the couch. He'd just tense and snap if anyone tried to pet him. So we had to sit back and let him adjust, let him start feeling safe enough.

About a month ago, he finally started to ask for very brief pets - tiny whine, hopeful look, his paw tugging at my forearm. Still, one or two pets and he was visibly Done.

And then came last weekend's party.

Nick's progress has been measured in a bunch of way. His growing food security (he used to wolf down all available food instantly, not trusting that he'd get fed again; now he nibbles over the course of the day), his comfort with other people being in the house (oh man he was super defensive for the first few months! but now he settles down quickly, ceasing the barking in the first few minutes), and, as the party showed, his comfort with large numbers of people in his space.

The last time I had a bunch of people over, he was visibly tense, and I had to be vigilant lest someone try to pet him or pick him up.

This time?

He played with people through the entire party.

Guests realized that he loves it when you throw his Boba Fett for him! At one point he had a three-person game of fetch going on. Oh, and he actually plays fetch now - rather than getting toy-defensive and hunkering over Boba, snapping when you try to get it? As of Saturday, he brings Boba back to the person who threw it, drops it at their feet, and does not snap or charge when they pick it up.

This is all huge. PTSD pup feels safe, not just in normal household situations, but in loud parties with lots of people, many of them strangers. He played for hours. He snuggled and licked people he'd just met. It was amazing. <3

And that, I think, flipped a switch in him - because now he loves being petted. I first discovered this when I was putting his leash on and he clearly demanded headskritches. Nicky, who used to snap at being touched at all, is feeling safe enough to plop his throat down into my hand.

So many skritches this week. <3

I know eight months seems like a long time, but for stray/probably abused animals, it's really not. He's made huge progress in leaps and bounds, and continues to do so - he had his first dog park experience Sunday, too, and was safe and happy with a bunch of new dogs in a new environment!

So I just want to thank everyone who's been part of helping Nicky realize he's in a safe, stable, and loving place. People who were kind and patient with him during his first outing at Arisia right through people who played with him last weekend. Everyone who gave him time and space and told him he was a good boy. Thank you. It's working. <3
9th-Sep-2014 01:26 pm - vote vote vote
Originally posted by hammercock at vote vote vote
It's primary day in Massachusetts and in many other places. If you're eligible, please get out there and vote. If you think your vote doesn't matter, you're wrong; the turnout is apparently so low that you actually have a disproportionate amount of say JUST BY SHOWING UP. If you hate Republican obstructionism and you don't vote, your lack of participation emboldens them. If you hate the way Koch brothers and their ilk are trying to buy every election possible, your vote against their preferred candidates is probably the only method you have to thwart them.

If you are able to vote, and you don't, you're saying you're okay with the way things are now.

I'm not okay with the way things are now. And I have no money to spare to help my preferred candidates, so I'm voting for the ones I support on my ballot.

9th-Sep-2014 10:58 am - Okay so here's the sitch.
ashlyme and I are working on selecting which poems will go in issue #1 of Liminality. The problem is this: We bought twice as many poems as we had room for, figuring that half would go into issue #2...

...but all of these poems together just flow in a perfect way, and we want to do a double-sized issue #1.

I mean it. Like, we nudged them into order and it was like a light descended from the heavens and a choir of angels sang.

But we only have the budget for half of them.

I haven't been pushing the "support us!" thing, but we do have a way that you can support us. From our sponsorship page:

$10: Sponsor a poem directly! You’ll be listed on our Sponsors page and thanked in that issue’s editorial.

$25: Your pet is our mascot for the issue! Send us a pet picture and a brief bio to grace the page of that issue’s editorial.

$100: Sponsor an issue! Be an epic patron of speculative poetry! You’ll get all of the appreciations listed above, and we’ll work out something special with that issue’s editorial.

Want to give us more money? Oh, please do. Contact us at liminalitypoetry AT, and we’ll figure out something fun.

If we get $120, we can do the whole double issue. This is a small total, so anything you can chip in really does count!

Click here to sponsor poems!
7th-Sep-2014 03:35 pm(no subject)
* Great party yesterday, with so many awesome people from so many social circles.
* Solid writing week last week, after moving Elayna into her new college...
* ...which she is very happy at so far!
* Many adult funtimes. :)
* Took Nicky to the dog park for the first time today; he is utterly blissed out.

Lack of writing here is not a Bad Thing, it is that life is very full of Good Things, several of which have been spontaneous, away from the computer, or both. :) Mink's Andy observed yesterday that I look really happy. I really, really am. :)
29th-Aug-2014 08:45 am - Crowdfunding spotlight!
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And don't forget the debut CD by Murder Ballads!
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