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August 21st, 2013
July 30th, 2013
I look even better if you only look at my left side.
I'd probably look better still if I wore a hat at all times.
At some point, my raging allergies will get under control enough that I can go back to Spin the reasonably-priced barber and get my hair cut without the chemicals in the really-not-very-chemically barber shop setting me off. This is not that point. This is also not the point when I'll grow my hair long again and just get it trimmed once every year or two.
July 11th, 2013
Seattle's eccentric alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger recently referred to Clarion West as Fancy-pants sci-fi-minded writing organization Clarion West. Sponsor me in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, and I'll send you a pair of genuine Clarion West Fancy-pants, as seen in Jay Lake's LJ. Or sponsor someone else; there are 344 writers and one illustrator participating in the Write-a-thon this year (I think there are some writer-illustrators as well, but then we're getting more granular than I think I ought to be).
I'm writing. I'm writing. I may never finish anything, but I'm writing,.
Independence Day weekend:
I used to be extremely curmudgeonly about those who call the holiday by its date rather than by its meaning. Now I'm only a wee bit curmudgeonly about it, while conceding that others may not see the subtle shading from extremity to wee bittity when it comes to my curmudgeosity.( Read more, because I wrote more...Collapse )
June 5th, 2013
Clarion West Write-a-thon challenge:
In honor of the 30th consecutive Clarion West summer workshop and the 10th Clarion West Write-a-thon, here's a challenge that's 30 times 10. Kate Schaefer (yes, that's me, talking about myself in the third person) and Karen G. Anderson have pledged a dollar a person each for everyone who participates in the Write-a-thon, up to 299 people/$299. If Clarion West gets 300 participants, their pledges turns into $600 instead of $300 each, for a total of $1200.
Just think of it: 300 writers, each pursuing a separate artistic vision while getting a little extra motivation and encouragement from the others.
The deadline for signing up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon is June 22, the day before the workshop starts. The Write-a-thon sign-up page is at http://clarionwest.org/writeathon.
Any friends of the workshop want to join us in this challenge? You can make a challenge pledge publicly or anonymously; just send email to email@example.com.
Feel free to spread this challenge around, and do sign up if you're writing this summer. We want to give that all money to Clarion West, but we won't do it if we don't get 300 participants.
May 4th, 2013
Corflu Stu :
I'm at Corflu. Stu Shiffman is not at Corflu. I want to put together a one-shot fanzine for Stu, written here. I've promised to write an article for that one-shot before midnight tonight. I'm also going to ask people who make Corflu-related LJ entries (like this one by Kate Yule) if I can scarf those entries for this purpose, to give Stu a composite flavor of the convention.
Friends of Stu, are you with me? You don't have to be at Corflu to participate.
For this purpose, short is better than long, and done is better than perfect. Unlike one-shots of the far-distant past, this need not be composed continuously on a beer-spattered typewriter in the consuite. You can email me your contribution or post it as a comment to this entry or hand it to me in the hall late this evening.
March 27th, 2013
The tragedy of the middle name:
In the afternoon, I baked wheat-free lemon bars to take to my evening Clarion West meeting (I am a person who volunteers slightly too much, so I have another Clarion West meeting this evening. Last week, I had two Clarion West database-related events, neither of which was, strictly speaking, a Clarion West meeting. Next week, I have no Clarion West meetings or events scheduled, so I may get a whole lot of Clarion West database and fundraising infrastructure work done). The meeting ran on time, got through all its scheduled work, and was overall useful, a thing which can't always be said about meetings.
The lemon bars had no structural integrity, a frequent problem with wheat-free baking, but they tasted great and filled the dietary niche of birthday cake, though without the tiny candles, to which I am also allergic. Today, after a night in the fridge, their structural integrity is greatly improved.
But I was going to talk about the tragedy of the middle name. Parents! Especially prospective parents, who have not yet named their yet-to-be-born children! Be sure to give your child as a first name the name by which you intend to call that child. Do not, I beg of you, do not give your child two names and then call the child by the second name. If you name your child Xaphod Beeblebrox Jones, call your child Xaphod, not Beeblebrox.
In the carefree days of my youth, it was not a big deal that I was always addressed by a nickname for my middle name. A moment of correcting the teacher on the first day of school, a quick note on the class roster, and everything was fine for the whole school year. I never used that first name for anything. Most of the time, I just used it as an initial, or left it off altogether, as I got jobs, applied for credit, paid bills, filed taxes under the name I use for formal purposes, Kathryn Schaefer. In those days, in the US, your name could be whatever you said it was, as long as you weren't trying to defraud other people or do some other criminal thing. At the time, of course, we didn't know we were living in the olden days.
It's still not a big deal, not at all, except when I want to buy a plane ticket, use that plane ticket, check my social security record, buy or sell stock or real estate, open a bank account, vote, or register for practically anything legal. Everything is computerized, and all the computer records and forms assume that the name that matters is the first name. Even when there is room to enter the whole name, the middle name is subsequently abbreviate to one letter.
This is a common problem in my family. My mother, Yvonne, must travel under her first name pseudonym of Marian. My brother Duncan doesn't answer to Lawrence, but that's what TSA calls him. My father-in-law, Glenn the elder, does not rejoice in his secret first name of Warren. Glenn's niece, Alexis, shows an ID that says Margaret. Of the five of us, only Alexis chose to go by her middle name. The parents of the other four all gave us first names that they never, never intended to use for any purpose whatsoever. They just put the names in that order because they thought they sounded better that way.
If names sound better in a particular order, but that sequence is almost never uttered, do they really sound better?
I've talked about this problem for years. I've hesitated to go ahead and change my legal name to the name I use in normal life for a number of reasons, chief among them being the pain in the butt nature of doing so. I may have reached the point where I'm ready to deal with the pain later this year. Dealing with the mismatch between my names costs me a ridiculous amount of time and aggravation.
But hey! You prospective parents! It's not too late for your kids. Head off this tragedy now by putting the name you'll use first on the birth certificate. Let your kids blame you for some other parenting error.
* Unfortunately, I am allergic to a large number of the things that don't have much effect on the way the air smells in spring but are in that air anyway: birch pollen, alder pollen, maple pollen, pine pollen. They aren't as bad as the pollens that show up in the summer, when every tiny grass feels free to get out and try to reproduce in my nostrils.
February 6th, 2013
One-day writing workshop with Molly Gloss, February 17 in Seattle:
Of interest mainly to those in the Seattle-area: Clarion West offers one-day writing workshops to all writers 18 years of age or older. The next one is “Fiction as Dream,” taught by Molly Gloss, author of Wild Life and other award-winning novels, 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, February 17, at the University Book Store. Register for the class at http://clarionwest.org/one_day_workshops.
Here’s Molly’s description of the class: “We read a few words at the beginning of a novel or story and suddenly find ourselves falling into the pages, seeing not words on paper but a wall of stones roughly mortared, or leaves whitening before rain. When the writer transports the reader wholly into the world of the story, she or he creates, in John Gardner's words, a "vivid, continuous fictional realm." In this workshop, through lecture, discussion, reading, and critique, we'll look closely at the artistry that gives rise to the fictional dream, as well as common slips that can jolt the reader from the world of the story. (Optional: Bring 14 copies of a three-page scene of your own work for discussion and critique.)”
Note that this is a class you can take with or without bringing in work for critique, so it can be used as a springboard for new work or as a lens through which to examine work in progress. The workshop costs $130, with a $15 rebate if you’re a graduate of the six-week Clarion West summer workshop.
January 3rd, 2013
New year irresolution, Potlatch/Foolscap:
It's a new year. Once again, I make no resolutions. I have plenty of good intentions, and I'll do my best to follow up on some number of them. Doesn't have the satisfactory oomph! of A Fresh Start! but it's considerably more realistic.
One of my intentions is to attend the composite Potlatch 22/Foolscap 15, February 1-3, at the Redmond Marriott Town Center. Jo Walton's Among Others is Potlatch's Book of Honor this year. Foolscap's Guests of Honor are celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl and artist and animator Michel Gagné. The Clarion West scholarship auction will take place on Saturday evening (check the con websites for exact times; I certainly don't know them).
The whole combination should be an eccentric lot of fun. I always enjoy going to conventions I'm not working on, and I'm intrigued by this combination convention. They're both small (around 200 people), hand-built conventions, with a longstanding friendly relationship. Potlatch is focused on the intersection between readers and writers, with an emphasis on shared experience and conversation and twenty-two years of helping beginning writers attend Clarion West. Potlatch doesn't traditionally have a guest of honor or an art show; it has traditionally travelled up and down the west coast, taking place over the years in Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Sunnyvale. Reading the Book of Honor prior to the convention can both inform your understanding of panels at the convention and give you a conversation starter with people you've just met in the con suite. True, sometimes the conversation starts out, I haven't read the Book of Honor, have you? This year, I have already read it and recommend it enthusiastically; last year, it won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, so a great many other people recommend it as well.
Foolscap is focused on flat things and their custodians: books, paintings, prints, collectors, librarians. Foolscap traditionally does have guests of honor and an art show, with a bit more emphasis on programming and a bit less emphasis on those exuberant conversations in the con suite. It doesn't travel up and down the west coast, though it did travel around the Seattle area for a while before settling in its current comfortable hotel in Redmond. It came out of the same tradition of small communities as Potlatch did, and many of its committee members have worked on both conventions over the years. Foolscap has always taken place in the fall when I've had other obligations before this, so I've rarely been able to attend it for more than a toedipping. I've always liked it in concept, and I've especially liked their focus on libraries and librarians, the gateway pushers of literature for anyone who lives in books. I'm looking forward to being able to go to the whole thing this year.
I hope I'll see many of you all there.
December 26th, 2012
Oh, some years...:
This hasn't been the most entertaining fall or early winter I've ever experienced. From October 15 to about December 7, I had a respiratory complaint which we characterized progressively as a cold, a bad cold with a nasty cough, bronchitis, and walking pneumonia (in modern medicine, they call it atypical pneumonia, but it's still a brontosaurus to me). The treatment was push fluids and rest, push hot fluids and rest, push hot fluids and rest and antibiotics and albuterol, push hot fluids and rest and albuterol and inhaled steroids and are you sure you understand the concept of rest? At which point my butt spent significantly more time in bed, and my lungs miraculously got all better.
While all this was going on, for weeks and weeks, I canceled some things and did some others, coughing pathetically the whole time. I made Camille jokes and Chopin jokes. My father made Gipper jokes. I reminded him that George Gipp died several years before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, and that I'd have considerably better treatment, though probably no one would ever make a saccharine movie based on my life or death. I got better; I relapsed; I got better again.
My atypical pneumonia was caused by home improvements. We did a big round of stuff: earthquake retrofitting, insulation retrofitting, and long-overdue exterior repaint. The house looks great, if you like primary colors as much as we do, it's less expensive to keep warm, and it won't fall off its foundations for anything less than a 9. Probably. The whole process generated an immense amount of dust. In retrospect, it would have been better had I gone on a nice trip to practically anywhere rather than staying at home while the work was done. We tried to keep the house as dust-free as possible, but it's hard to keep up with blown cellulose.
At any rate, it's all over. No more pneumonia, and we'll have the daughters and grandchildren visiting soon to celebrate the designated midwinter holiday of your choice. Yep. Things are fine fine fine.
I have shingles.