Tag Archives: reading

Wrong in all the right ways

Drinking margaritas made with the $200 bottle of tequila I gave Kay for her birthday last year. DAMN they’re good. So while slightly tipsy I thought I’d blog a bit. Unfortunately the best suggestions twitter could offer was a request for “blogging about drunken giraffes fornicating“. And since John Green of the Vlog Brothers already covered that way better than I could:

…you get a hodgepodge post instead.

Today at my job (I work at a law firm) was “Diversity Day”. I have no idea if it was intentionally held on Cinco de Mayo, but it was. Everyone in the firm was invited to bring in a dish from their cultural backgrounds for a pot luck. The food was surprisingly good and diverse, from Scottish meat pies to Chinese dumplings to knishes and homentashen.

They invited Jarrett Barrios, the president of GLAAD, to speak. Barrios used to be an attorney at the firm, and our firm has given a lot of support to GLAAD in terms of office space (across the country) and financial support.

Barrios’ speech was great; funny, touching and insightful. I won’t relate the stories he told because they were personal and I’m not sure I should share, but he clearly learned a lot about public speaking while a MA state senator! He talked a lot about the significance of diversity and specifically about opening up channels of communication and how important that is. It is after all what GLAAD does, brings dialogue to situations and uses the court of public opinion to give a face to LGBTQ people.

He did say one thing that I didn’t entirely agree with. He talked about how there are ‘good men’ and ‘bad men’ when it comes to discrimination – that is, people who really try to do good but just mess up, and people who don’t care if they’re discriminatory, or do it on purpose. That’s clearly true. And he said that there was no reason to jump down the throat of a ‘good man’ because it makes them want to shut down and never say anything.

This is all true, but it kind of glosses over the fact that we are responsible for how we approach the situation too – we can choose to engage the ‘good man’ without jumping down their throat, but instead in a firm but non-antagonistic way. This is too important to dismiss – the ‘good man’ will be a real ally but can only change if they’re made aware of what they’re doing. These situations must be addressed – it just doesn’t have to be in a confrontational manner.

All in all, I was pleased with Barrios’ speech and thanked him for it after. He’s a nice guy, very approachable. I can see why he was chosen to be GLAAD president.

Just started reading NK Jemisin‘s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Haven’t gotten far enough to really get a big impression yet, but 3 things:

1. It’s in 1st person.
2. The first scene is essentially a short infodump.
3. Despite the first 2 things, I’m enjoying it.

Jemisin’s voice is clean and engaging without getting flowery. And she’s laid out a scenario that’s rife with possibilities in just the first couple chapters. So far, so good.

Speaking of reading, I’ve noticed a significant shift in my reading preferences.

My first real interest in SFF was in science fiction – I devoured everything Bradbury wrote. Of course I liked some of each, but initially I think I enjoyed SF more. Then I shifted, started reading more fantasy. I read Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, etc. That actually lasted a long time, and up until maybe 2 years ago or so, I think 90% of my own writing was fantasy too.

However, recently I’ve noticed a distinct preference for SF. I’m sure this is largely Kay’s fault, and the influence of Science in My Fiction, but it’s not a bad thing. I still enjoy both, and good writing trumps the distinction between the two anyway. But I’m searching novel submission to Crossed Genres for the next novel we’ll publish, which I’m to edit, and I found myself looking for the SF submissions… which for some reason are relatively few. We’re getting about two fantasy subs for every one science fiction sub. Odd.

I don’t know if there’s a correlation between this and the F/SF breakdown, but we’re also seeing about 5 subs from men for every 1 sub from women. What’s up with that?! CGP usually gets a fairly even split between men and women, though that’s the short story subs. And the 2 novels we’ve published/will publish, A Festival of Skeletons and Broken Slate, are both by women. I hope to see more novels submitted from women!

Back on Friday, Kay and I went to see the play Breaking the Code at Central Square Theater. This was a birthday gift from my mom – back in December she gave me a program for their season and said she’d buy us 2 tickets to whichever show we wanted to see. Sweet!

Breaking the Code is about the life of Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who cracked the Enigma code during World War II, but who was later ostracized and prosecuted for being gay.

The play was very good: the acting was very solid, the actor who played Turing (Allyn Burrows) standing out. The staging was simple but never felt like anything was missing. Kay and I agreed after that the director, Adam Zahler, deserved a lot of credit for drawing good performances and wonderful staging in a round theater setting. The play only runs through the 8th (this Sunday) but if anyone in the Cambridge/Boston area has time to see it I’d strongly recommend it. I learned things about Turing I didn’t know, and now want to find out how much of it was real and how much was creative license.

On Sunday, on Twitter, the Hiyao Miyazaki tweetup group will be getting together (probably at 4pm US EST) to watch Castle in the Sky. One of Miyazaki’s more action-packed films, it’s still very charming and a lot of fun. Anyone who has/can get the film is welcome to join us! We all just start the film at the same time and then tweet our comments/observations, with a #CastleintheSky hashtag. Join us! You know you want to!

Post title from “Raise Your Glass” by Pink:

Don’t plan the plan if you can’t follow through

First: Vote! If you’re in the U.S., go out and cast your vote. Every single one matters – especially yours!

The past month has been insanely busy, though there have been odd moments of calm. The last few days of October (the 27th through the 30th), most of my time was spent reading submissions (more on what submissions below), because I actually couldn’t do anything with other projects – they were either done, or I was waiting for some info or something. I had a few mild panic attacks during those few days when I realized I’d done nothing but read for a while and thought “OMGIshouldbedoing… oh no. Wait.”

Most projects are progressing nicely, though. The Kickstarter for A Festival of Skeletons ended with $538 (the goal was $300). One $38 pledge failed, but that’s still 167% of the goal, so not bad. I admit I was a bit disappointed by the number of preorders, but we worked hard to push them – there’s only so much we can do. We’ll see if we can create a nice release day (12/1). Crossed Genres Year Two is set, and yesterday we got in copies of it for review; I’m currently contacting reviewers about it. Yesterday we also got in 100 postcards of the cover of Festival, which look pretty nice! (Postcards were a reward for various levels of the Kickstarter.) We’ve never ordered postcards before so we didn’t know what to expect in terms of quality. But we’re pretty happy.

As you may have read about on the CG blog, there are some big changes coming to CG, the way it’s structured and such. Most of that is being spearheaded by Jaym & Natania, who are taking our encouragement to “Make CG your own” very seriously! 😉 But Kay and I have discussed all the changes with them ahead of time and we agree that it’s all good stuff. Some of it’s even things that we’ve considered in the past but never had time or impetus to implement.

It is REALLY weird that right now, I’m not frantically reading through CG submissions so that Kay and I can argue over decide which stories to choose. I’ve got plenty to work on, but this point of every month for the past two years has ALWAYS included tons of short story reading, usually in a rush to get through them all. It feels very strange, and I want to panic that itwon’tgetdoneARGH! except that I just talked to Natania a second ago and they’re totally on top of it.

Fortunately I have other short stories to read, for another project I’m working on! I’m not going to talk about it too much ATM, though I’ve mentioned it here before. But I will say: holy DAMN did I hit the jackpot. These were invitation-only submissions, and I invited people who I already know are talented writers. The result is probably the best overall quality from a pool of submissions that I’ve ever seen. Not to dis our previous submitters (a lot of the people I invited are people we’ve previously published, in fact), but with open submissions you get everything from great, can’t-put-it-down stories to stuff so bad you don’t get through the first page. And that’s every month. But when inviting people whose work you’re already familiar with, you don’t get those terrible dud stories. I’m about 3/4 of the way through my first reads, and I haven’t seen a real dud yet. Some appeal to me more than others, but that’s just because of my preferences. Overall the quality is truly exceptional. It’ll probably be harder than ever before to narrow down my selections. (Note: Editors do not consider this a bad problem to have.)

It’s November, which means: It’s NaNoWriMo time!!! I haven’t invested much in NaNo for a while – after Kay and I each won in 2006 & 2007, we didn’t finish in 2008 and didn’t even sign up in 2009 – we had other priorities, what with CG growing and Baz getting bigger and such. But this year, we’re sort of half-attempting it. We’re not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, so odds are we won’t come close to the 50,000 word goal. But really, all we’re looking for is to feed off the collective motivations of all them NaNo-ers. Last night I wrote about 670 words in the 45 minutes before bed – not too bad, considering I didn’t even know what I was going to write on when I sat down to start! we’ll just see how that all goes. I will say that it felt really good to be writing! And what I wrote was very different from the sort of thing I usually write. That was interesting.

You know the best way to NOT get used to wearing contacts? Forget to wear them for days at a time. Last night as I was getting ready for bed I realized I’d forgotten for the 3rd day in a row. *headdesk* I set an alarm on my phone to remind me, so hopefully I’ll do better from now on.

The most interesting thing about my schedule now, looking into the near future, is that while it’s still quite full, it’s not so… deadline-y. There aren’t a lot of things that require my IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!!!1! Usually I spend the first half of each month working feverishly on the new CG issue. Now? Not my problem responsibility. Most things on my list now won’t be aversely affected if I bump them back a day or two. This will take some serious getting used to. Maybe I should add a 1-month project to give myself a close deadline…

Oh, yeah – Vote!

post title from “A Man’s Gotta Do” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog