storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
For those who aren't on FB, an update:

So, I've managed for years with scleroderma and its complications not to get any of the horrifying infected finger wounds I saw pictures of early in my diagnosis. But now I have such horrifying pictures of two of my own poor fingers, my right hand pointer and middle fingers, in fact, and Wednesday of this past week disappeared into a miasma of early morning freakout, emergency rheumatologist visit, wound care center sojourn, and new prescriptions for yet more pharmaceuticals. My life is fun.

I'd show you the pictures but they really are horrifying. Hopefully we caught it soon enough and it will heal now and I won't lose any digits.

Also, I'm a wimp about pain and there's a lot of whimpering over here.

storyrainthejournal: (fable)
As I sit here half in denial but beginning to grapple with a choice I don’t like, wondering if my lungs will ever again be up to a real hike in a beautiful natural place, to breathing in the marvels of this planet, and if the medicine I may take to try and halt the damage encroaching on my lungs will only further undermine the quality of my life, tie me to very regular blood testing, fear of infection, make it very hard to go, and do, and be, with freedom and vigor…

I see all that other people go and do and accomplish while they are being, and I look for some profound, meaningful, useful, or at least comforting perspective and insight, to help myself help myself. I feel like I have work that’s worth doing, writing-wise, and living that’s important to me to do, and joy I want to give, receive, experience, share. But of course it’s not super important to anyone but me.

I want to swallow a small bio-printer and have it print me new lungs. Or have the scleroderma relax its hold and my lungs stop getting worse, just stop here so I can still do things, even if I get out of breath and have to stop and rest while doing them.

I want to curl up and cry and have some great, beneficial love hold and hug me inside and out. I want to not feel so alone with this, and every decision and task that faces me. But I have felt alone since I was six and realized parents weren’t always there, were in fact quite absent, that nobody was or would always be there and no one was protecting me, and I am so used to feeling alone that it’s become hard for me to let anyone that far in, that close.

I am thankful for the cats, who cuddle up to my heart, purring, soft and warm, every day. I am thankful for my friends and loved ones, who are there for me, I know, to whatever extent they are or can be. But it would be nice to have a person who was here for me in a more physical, pragmatic way.

I am afraid, and I don’t want to be alone.

I’ll be strong again, at some point, resilience is a thing—until it’s not, I guess.

storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
In a recent conversation with my sister, an artist who likes to read about artists' lives, I learned that Paul Klee, one of the few modernists whose art I really love, had (and died of complications associated with) scleroderma, the same autoimmune disease I have.

On Paul Klee and his illness - During 1940, the year Klee died of heart failure from severe scleroderma at the age of 60, he created 366 works of art. Seventy-three years later, his art continues to inspire admirers, influencing not only visual artists, but also contemporary musicians all over the world, with its vibrant sense of rhythm, movement, imagination, and emotion.

I do love his art:



Reading about this is...comforting? Interesting? Something. Part of trying to come to terms with some stuff, I guess.

Things are physically challenging right now; my eyes, fingers, lungs, digestive system, and musculo-skeleture system are all adversely, and variously painfully, affected by the scleroderma. I'm tired most of the time and it's hard keeping up with dayjob, writing, the devoir of life, and self care enough to keep functional--and I still want and need to have something left over for doing fun things, spending time with friends.

I wonder about the next twenty years, and there is a lot of fear and denial and 'I just want to curl up in a ball and cry,' along with frustration--I still have a lot of writing I need and want to do, places I want to experience, people I want to spend time with. I still love and want to live my life and create art and beauty in the world.

A friend who also has serious autoimmune disease challenges talked about how people often say, "You look great, much improved," or words to that effect--and they're so hopeful that this is really the case. A lot of the time it's not; autoimmune diseases don't always show, and one makes efforts to be presentable, to appear well. And you don't want to say, um, nope, sorry--it's so disappointing and awkward.

I find myself thinking, gee, this writing career thing that I've been at for several decades better take off soon, I don't know how much more time I really have. Which is always the case, actually, for all of us, but hammered home on a daily basis by my tiring and unhappy body.

Here's Paul Klee with his wife and a cat.

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
It's interesting having an autoimmune condition that actualizes metaphor and trope. Need a thicker skin? Try scleroderma! Scars where never wound was made? Check. And western medicine's best guess as to the trigger of scleroderma? A traumatic physical or emotional event.

Also interesting, I had written characters whose skin is marked by some supernatural occurrence, in one case very like the way the markings on my skin at the onset of the sclero presented, years before the sclero developed. One of them, in fact, in the story "A Thousand Wings of Luck" coming out in the Subversion anthology. The first draft of that story was written in 1995 at Clarion West, six years before the sclero onset. And while the story was revised a great deal over time, that particular thing, the skin marking, is original to the first version.

Language is the food of the brain. Or something.

But it's interesting, isn't it?
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Writeathon progress: Today I gutted a scene that wasn't working (and needs to work before I can write the end of the novel) and rewrote about two thirds of it. There are cedars and a lion-headed priestess, and that's all you get. No snippet, but progress has been made and I am pleased with it. My writeathon page is here.

*
My throat is not better yet, though I have regained most of my voice, which disappeared over the weekend. A bad coughing fit had me up in the early am this morning; I curled up on the couch with some honey loquat syrup in hot water and the first of Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes mysteries. I liked it so much I'm already reading the second one. (And this, dear reader, is why I got the Kindle--to assuage my occasionally near rabid need to have the next book now--I have often said, I don't really have any addictions to substances, but I become addicted to narratives.)


storyrainthejournal: (froggyhashat)
Still feel a bit dodgy, but I reached the restlessness stage yesterday afternoon, so back to dayjob this morning.

Between the weekend and the ensuing sick days I finished three books and watched three movies.

Deceiver and Betrayer, #s 11&12 in Cherryh's Foreigner series (Jo Walton did an overview and then intro to a reread of the series at Tor.com). I almost always love C.J. Cherryh. Her deep third person pov, with a lot of psychological stream of consciousness wound through the action is not everyone's cup of tea, I guess, but I love it. And her worldbuilding...well, at this point, her SF universe(s) may as well exist for me. Also at this point, the characters and world of the Foreigner novels are a second home for me, one I love visiting. I always end up awaiting the next book, too anxious to bide until it comes out in paperback.

Moon over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch. This is the second in a new series, the first was Midnight Riot, (Rivers of London in the UK). These are well written, engaging, excellent fun. Mysteries set in a modern London that has river gods and a tradition of magic somewhat occulted by the loss of most of its practitioners during the war. London comes very much alive in the books, right along with Mama Thames and her offspring and estranged mate, magic as a sideline discipline written of by Isaac Newton, and the protagonist's family, his white Jazz musician drug addict father and black African mother. Good stuff.

True Grit, the Coen Brothers version, which I wanted to see in the theater but didn't manage to. I have a great love for ornery girl protagonist-heroes, and for a certain kind of western (the kind of western that's the antithesis of what appears in tv shows of the 70s and 80s). I loved this movie. Thoroughly good.

The Eclipse. Irish ghost movie set during a coastal town's annual literary festival; very quiet, it reminded me a bit of a story from Joyce's The Dead in tone. The supernatural element is subtle, until it's not, and then it made me jump off the couch. I admired the way the film was done, and the intensity and integrity of its presentation, but...not, ultimately, my favorite sort of thing.

The Ilusionist. French animated feature from an unproduced script by the late director and comic Jacques Tati, about a perpetually down on his luck illusionist and a girl who thinks he's actually got magic powers. Beatifully animated, though I actually preferred the scenic and environmental animation to the character animation. It's a lovely, bittersweet film, but a bit too heavy on the bathos of those left behind by time and change for me. In other words, a little too French.
storyrainthejournal: (owl&pussycat)
If I was in Portland, Maine I'd go to Frank Turek's open studio during Portland's First Friday Art Walk this Friday June 3, to see Frank's boxed assemblages and altered books. The open studio is 4-8pm, 142 High Street (The State Theater Building) room 323. Frank is an old friend of mine from college and his art is amazing--intricate, quirky, intelligent, full of beauty, wonder, slantwise wry commentary, and brilliance.

Sadly, I am in Austin, which is far away and really fucking hot.

*
Finished the revision of SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS and sent it back to agent. Now back to DEEP TERRAIN to finish the draft. Wading back in I am pleased that so far, my feeling is, hey, I like this book! 

*
Hella tired today; restless shallow dreaming all night. Plus brain still a bit friable from big revision finishing push over long weekend. This weekend, we nap.

Am happy to report, though, that fingers are actually getting better and, thanks to Canadian online pharmacies, and not our ridiculous American "health" care system, I won't go broke getting the medicine to keep from losing any of my digits.
storyrainthejournal: (carousel horse)
World Horror Con this weekend, and I'm looking forward to meeting some folks and hanging with some folks and having a good time with writerly peeps.

I'll be one of five reading at the Broad Universe rapid fire reading. Relevant specs:

Broad Universe RFR - April Grey, Leadie Jo Flowers, Stina Leicht, Jessica Reisman, and Camille Alexa.
Friday April 29 - 12:00-1:00 PM
Robertson

Very cool previews of fantastic fiction from five brilliant women.
Chilling glimpses of deeply weird worlds and wild plunges into dark imaginings.
Chocolate.

*
Random observations on Game of Thrones:

Arya, the wolves, Bran, and Peter Dinklage are the very best things about it for me. They're what will keep me watching, along with the looming threat of actual supernaturality from beyond the wall.

I find the trope wherein any man that's slightly effeminate--that is, slender, blond, a bit effete--is evil, odious, or otherwise bad news, really tiresome. It plagues a lot of fantasy.

On Doctor Who:

Woohooo! is mostly all I have to say, except this: I find it really hard to buy/believe River Song's description of her and the Doctor's opposite passage through time relationship within the context of the narrative reality we've lived through with the characters thus far. It just doesn't compute for me.

Still, wooohooo!

*
This has been an odd April for me; I've had some simply fantastic news about which I am just beyond happy (which I will share when official things are made official). At the same time, healthwise, my ass has been well and truly kicked and I am just exhausted beyond exhaustion, worn down and overwhelmed to the point of crying several times a week. However, we picks ourself back up and gets back to it. It's what we does.
storyrainthejournal: (fable)

Some difficult things in the last couple of days have been ameliorated by the kindness of awesome people, one friend, one stranger, and one family. So, although I was exhausted by the unhealing sores and pain in my fingers before I even got dressed this morning, and cried on the way in to the dayjob, there is a lot for which to be thankful, and I am.

*
Dear GOP/Tea Party/Corporate wealthy: perhaps the reason more of "mainstream" institutions and media don't reflect your "values," as you seem to think is the case, is because so many of your attitudes and values are hate, fear, and intolerance-based, are regressive, lacking in empathy, and would, frankly, be dangerously sociopathic if you were a person. (in reaction to something Mike Huckabee said on The Daily Show the other night)

*
I'm almost finished reading McKillip's The Bards of Bone Plain (I may have mentioned, mostly my only reading time is before bed, which means it takes me awhile to get through a book these days). Next up: Deathless, because I've been jonesing for the rest since reading the preview online weeks and weeks ago.


storyrainthejournal: (utopia)

This article in Vanity Fair by Joseph E. Stiglitz says it well: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.

...paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. ... The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

I know that no one in the that top 1% reads my lj, but I wish they would clue the fuck up.

*
Meanwhile, as my fingers starve for blood flow, get sores, pain me, and turn gruesome, the insurance company denies me the medication prescribed by my rheumatologist, because, although studies have shown its efficacy in treating Raynauds Phenomenon as a secondary symptom of scleroderma, it hasn't yet been approved by the FDA for that purpose. It's approved for the purpose of helping old men get it up and keep it up, but not that. Further appeals, 180-day waits, and no guarantee of success are all they have to offer. If I could afford to pay full price for the damn stuff, I would, but we've had no raises or bonuses for two years, none are coming, and, as we all know, the cost of living keeps on going up.

please, no suggestions on improving circulation, I'm doing everything I can already

*
However, there are good things happening, too, and I've been getting writing time in while dayjobbing, which is always a yay. Deep Terrain (no it's not done yet) stands at 92K and is still working toward final climactic scenes and conclusion. Slowly. But we'll get there. Then there will be much revising.

Other of the good:
got the tax stuff organized and off to tax person
Aristotle, Scaramouch, and Tinker cats ('Totle comforts me when the health stuff is of the overwhelming and I sob like a geyser)
So many good books to read (Deathless up next!)
Justified has been riveting television



 


storyrainthejournal: (rouseau&cat)
My sister recommended this little New Yorker humor piece to me, Where I Live, by Amy Ozols. She said it made her think of me, which...I'm not sure...but that might be an insult. Usually my sister is the soul of kindness. hmph. (I only have three cats, I swear, and, and...oh...nevermind.)

*
I had scheduled last Thursday and Friday off, to spend a little time with a friend in town for the week, and also to not have to deal with driving home from work during the music portion of SXSW, which makes downtown (where I work) more or less impassable. Then I managed to develop my first cold in a year on Wednesday and went home sick.

Wednesday was the worst day, however, and timely application of Cold-Eze, by which, yes, I swear, and pushing liquids and hot lemon w/honey seems to have cleared the worst from system quickly. I managed all my social plans and otherwise napped a lot over the whole four days, which, you know, napping with cats: one of my favorite activities. Also read books and watched the first two discs of The Forsyte Saga, which I had never seen. And also cleaned and did the necessary devoir of life, so yay me. Alas, however, very little fic-writing took place. Will remedy that today, at some point in the dayjobbery.

*
The other very yay thing about the last four days is that two lovely friends, my usual Sunday writing date, moved into their new place in my neighborhood, which just rocks. I walked over there twice over the weekend to consult w/them on paint colors. Having friends in easy walking distance is like, awesome. Makes me very happy.

*
Did something make you happy over the last few days?
storyrainthejournal: (in dreams)
In last night's dreaming, a Hollywood version of a Voodoo-esque ceremony, a man pulling an endless string of t-shirts in many colors--like a magic trick, except he'd stolen them--from his pants, using a rigged up gear and pulley system, and a wedding.

I guess it was romantic comedy night. Sort of. It was all very entertaining.
*

Pulmonary function test yesterday; according to the tech, at least, I haven't lost too much more additional capacity since the last test (due to scarring and tissue thickening from the scleroderma). So, uh, yay! It's a weird series of tests, if you've never had a PFT, and makes me dizzy and my lungs ache.
*

Three things I recced made it onto the final Nebula ballot, so I'm pretty pleased about that.
*

Finished Kathe Koje's Under the Poppy and really enjoyed it; her writing is so very fine, and the characters move into good places from hard ones, and puppets! Puppets are love. It's apparently being adapted for the stage, a show I want to see.

Then, for an abrupt change of pace, I read Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot, after a 50 page preview online hooked me; a fun, fast read.

Now: Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death.
storyrainthejournal: (onward)
There are a lot of books I want to read right now, but I am currently reading Kathe Koje's UNDER THE POPPY and it is soooooo good. I am loving it, and savoring it. And petting it and calling it George.
*

Lessee; younger cats had vet date this morning. Tinker has asthma/mild bronchitis and the chest xrays were 'spensive. Scaramouche threw up everything, and I mean everything, upon returning home from getting shots.
*

For three months this one finger has alternately ached and been sore and tender, and then itched so badly I've had to restrain myself lest I scratch it bloody. I've been using the nitro patches, keeping it warm and clean, putting on bacitracin and lotion...krikey fuck jeezub, finger, get better already.
*

The novel that is taking forever to write is still taking forever, but moving into climactic scenes, so, er, yeah. My spirits re the writing career in general, kind of sagging, but the writing itself is good. I'm calling it George, too.

storyrainthejournal: (Default)

A couple of posts in the Wiscon community blog, one looking for participants in what looks like an interesting writing project and one talking about the fact that the onus of educating those who've spewed hate speech should not rest on the main subjects of that hate speech (eta: the latter post is locked; you have to be a member or watcher of the community to view; sorry.)
 *

Little big cats:
Lions at the National Zoo
Snow Leopard in the wilds of Bhutan 
Florida panthers with some Texas twang
*

Deep Terrain is just shy of 80k; I figure another 10-12k for draft. If I didn't have a dayjob and an autoimmune disease, would I have finished this novel ages ago? Oh well, we are where we are. I do expect the fill in, fix, and spruce-up process of the redraft to go much much faster.
*

Speaking of the autoimmune disease, currently choosing to have a pounding headache in order to treat that fingertip, which has been aching like the worst sore tooth a hand ever had. Or something.
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
Writer Abra Staffin-Wiebe has begun a pay-what-you-can online serial story to help fund her mother's cancer treatment. It's called The Circus of Brass and Bone and the first episode is mighty promising, featuring a traveling circus in a steampunk world after the collapse of civilization. There's a donation button on the page. Check it out--it's a good read so far.
*

Typing one-handed to try and keep one of my fingertips, about which I'm a mite worried, warm. Also doing the nitro-patch to increase bloodflow to it. But it's being very recalcitrant, hurty, hard-sored, and discolored.
*

Had a pretty brilliant brunch with awesome lovely peeps on Sunday, at La Condesa. Then we all walked to Book People and acquired things, including my own shiny copy of M.K Hobson's The Native Star. Do you have yours? Other books I added to my ridiculous to-read pile: Lauren Goff's The Monsters of Templeton and The Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers.

storyrainthejournal: (Default)

Back improved, but dayjob desk chair kind of frustrating improvement (torturing me, in fact). Luckily, I have the weekend to make all better before Monday's travel by air and car to the remote downeast Maine woods. Where there will be lake swimming and a hot tub. Plus lobster dinner and cherry cheesecake for my Dad's birthday. My brother asked if I wanted anything special and all I could think of was root beer floats, because Maine and summer in the woods=root beer and vanilla icecream, courtesy of my maternal grandparents, who considered that a necessary end component of each evening.

Other than that, I'm not paying much attention to this birthday.

*
Dinner last night w/lovely friends at the Blue Dahlia. New on the menu, a goat cheese, fig, carmelized onion and honey dijon sauced tart. Oh, yes, it was soooooooooo good. With a glass of vinho verde, which I've decided is a type of wine very friendly to my palate.

*
Someday I will finish this novel.

 


storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Well, I am flat on my back recovering from a crippling back spasm. At least when I get up I can stand up straight now, vast improvement. Hoping to be mobile enough to return to dayjob tomorrow. Traveling to Maine next week, so I really need to put in some time there... Currently, I am covered in cats.

*
Good news, in having sold a story to PS Publishing recently. More details on that soon. All I know is they're morphing Postscripts to a quarterly anthology and the story, "The Bottom Garden," will appear there.
storyrainthejournal: (bunny)
These illos that Kay Nielsen did for East of the Sun, West of the Moon are still among my favorite ever. As a kid, I had this one on a t shirt; and part of this one forms the background on my LJ. 

Looking at these illustrations, and thinking about the lampshades we had in our house when I was even younger, that my mother had made from folio-sized prints of "adult" work Nielsen did for Salome, I feel like I'm looking at a major thread in the formation of my own aesthetic. Of course there are tons of other threads, and I have a fairly wide-raning aesthetic. Still, I miss that t-shirt.

*
Writing is happening, but, oy, I wish it was happening a little faster. Still, it's happening and I am glad for that. Still loving the world and characters of this novel.

I have also been a good and diligent me in regard to the career/publishing side of things. *pats self on back*

*
health whinge, feel free to skip... )
storyrainthejournal: (samtv)

Paws and Effect is raising dollars for Blind Cat Rescue, which rescues blind cats slated for death at shelters. Please consider giving a buck or two.

*

I have given it quite a few chances, but I just don't like Stargate Universe. Everyone is dour, unpleasant, and unkind, the stories are murky, it has no real muscle, only pretend muscle. Whatever it's trying to do, it is not doing it for me. 

I do, however, like Justified, which is well written, interestingly shot, and puts Timothy Olyphant back into his Deadwood mode, with an Elmore Leonard update.

And Supernatural continues to be one of the best shows ever, (that most of you never watch).

ETA: also, In Plain Sight has more awesome older women featured on the show than any other single drama I can name. It almost seems more like a British than an American show. Plus all those women talk together about all kinds of stuff other than men. It's pretty awesome.

*

Leaving, on a jet plane, tomorrow in the early, for to visit with my mom, who just turned 78. I think she's in better shape than I am. She swims every day; I just had a bad muscle spasm in my lower back. Wheee!



sale

Feb. 8th, 2010 09:57 am
storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
I'm very happy to announce the sale of my story, "The Vostrosovitch Clockwork Animal and Traveling Forest Show at the End of the World" to the excellent Crossed Genres, for issue #16, steampunk. And I would like to publicly apologize to the estimable Mr. Leib for the length of the title, which is apparently difficult to wrangle into a ToC. I'm not really sorry about the title, which I kind of love, but I am sorry for causing any frustration! ~

Another sale announcement is in the offing, but I prefer to hold off until a contract exists.
~

In other news, it's grey and raining gently, birds are singing, and I'm home because I felt quite ill this morning. Still feel pretty ughy, but at least I'm home. Also, it is my half birthday. I am exactly ahem and a half today.

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