I know I’ve spoken in the past about GenreCon (and it’s happening again this year! GO. DO IT), and what a phenomenal experience it was for me, and all the fantastic people I met there. I want to tell you about one of them, because she’s offering a twelve-week mentorship program centering on writing and creative exploration. Jodi Cleghorn writes: My vision is to be the curator of a supported creative space with the benefits of one-to-one personalised attention and small group interaction. One of the greatest things to have come from GenreCon, for me, is the discovery of a creative community of vastly different people with incredibly different talents and styles and genres, but who are united by a sense of inclusivity, generosity, and openness. And this mentorship program is a distillation of that. I imagine I’m not being terribly clear, so I’ll let Jodi explain it better: For … Read on!
Time is a wicked thing. We get caught up in it, we view it as an enemy almost exclusively, we try to exert control over it knowing that we can’t, that it’s something beyond our control, fleeing and fleeting and obstinate. Time is a big deal for me. I mean, yes, it’s a big deal for a lot of people in various ways, but I wonder if it rules my life more than it seems to affect others. The answer is, probably not. Maybe you can tell me if I’m right or wrong. In the past I’ve talked about not managing time well, but I think it’s not a management issue, as in my ability to be organized. I’ve talked about that, too, and how abysmal my orderliness is, but I’ve been around enough to know some strategies that make things easier and help me keep on track. But time … Read on!
I may have neglected to mention that I’m in a podcast. In fact, I’m certain I haven’t mentioned it. I’m bad at self-promotion. But I’m good at promoting other people! So, let me introduce you to Priori, a YA fantasy podcast serial written by Emily Craven and performed by her, and several talented people, and incidentally, me. What’s the story about? I’ll let Emily tell you herself: Hunted by the Kraken, the sinister leader of the Ruhle Empire, Beverly Jordan must control her powers, known only as the ‘Priori, to survive. Believing her powers dirty, fit only for destruction and ruin, Beverly and her brother Charlie set off on a journey to find the fabled safe-haven of Creana, an underwater world where one can learn to split the fabric of time and manipulate the Lines of Power, where winged Alaequines soar through the air and the Shadows hide, waiting for … Read on!
I know for a moment I’ll come off as one of those people who says things like “kids today!” but just stick with me here, because I’m not stomping over other people’s perceived shortcomings. Two days ago, I got to sit at my computer and watch a computer simulation (via NASA’s Eyes, an app built and freely offered) of New Horizons making its closest pass to Pluto on its way to the Kuiper Belt. I just want to unpack that, okay? I sat at my computer, which happens to be a very very very long way from California and from the places where I grew up and from the people I grew up with. But I had the simulation running in real time, and on a browser tab I had a NASA TV stream running. Back when I was in high school, we lived near Charleston, which is much nearer to … Read on!
I have always been absorbed by context, whether it’s historical or political or environmental. Really, these things are inseparable, and they weave into my own history an out of it like tendrils on creeper vines. Of the world, and in it. I had asked whether the brutal monolith apartment blocks that lined the avenue between the airport and the heart of the old city were attributable to him. I moved around a lot as a kid, every two or three years or so. Place became something meaningful, not just a location but a collection of sensations and impressions and people and their lives in that place, too. The texture of the earth underfoot or the smell of exhaust over petrichor is enough to take me back to places I haven’t been in years. The sound of crickets, the fall of light on a late winter day, a spark of unexpected … Read on!
There’s tons of bad news out in the ether. I can’t deal with it now, I don’t have the wherewithal, but I wanted to do something constructive. So I wanetd to talk about looking at the things you do and letting yourself see the good in it. Western society — or at least this corner of Western society that I live in — thrives on hypercriticality. Things aren’t quite good enough. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and I will never be attractive enough or thin enough or charming enough on my own, so I really really need to buy a panoply of things to cover my hopeless flaws. Maybe it’s not. Anyway. I was sitting around with friends yesterday and recounted a summary of a story I’d submitted in the hopes of getting it published and I thought at first I wouldn’t remember it properly. (Memory and I don’t … Read on!
I should, I really should. I started a new job at the beginning of the month, a full time one — no more 4-day weekends for me — as a full editor. Bilingual, no less. I am astonished, saddened, and shocked at how out of practice I am with it. I mean, a lot of it’s muscle memory, neural pathways burned like screens left on too long. You put words in front of me, I fix them! Or I try. Usually I’m pretty good. But it’s been a while since I’ve done this for pay, for several hours straight, in a facility dedicated to this purpose with equipment that is not mine to do it on. I love it. But my brain isn’t used to this kind of thing. Again, like a muscle, it’s out of practice, it’s gone soft from under-use (even with working on the doctoral research). And … Read on!
So anyone who knows me knows I have Opinions about Representation. Representation in anything — games, movies, books, the gamut of communicative arts. So let me tell you about this thing that I just found because YES. It’s a game called Aberford in development by an outfit called Sketchy Panda Games. Here are their four primary protagonists: Yeah. That totally got my attention. In a sentence, Aberford follows four women in post-WWII America faced with a zombie apocalypse. There’s a single-player story mode and a multiplayer zombie-smash mode, too. But if you worry that this is being handled poorly, that the characters are cardboard cutouts and the story will be a thin veneer of zombie bashing dressed in June Cleaver’s best, let me point you to this excerpt from their tumblr, which they update quite frequently: Besides being a game about 50’s housewives and zombies, Aberford is about people finding their voices … Read on!
This is the most fantastic thing I’ve seen in a while: A Soft Murmur, which lets you mix your own background ambient noise loop.
Mix your own background ambient loop. BRILLIANT.
I don’t know how long it’s been out, but it’s fantastic. There’s no hiccup where a track loops back on itself, and you can have all of the sliders up and running if you like and it doesn’t slow anything down, nor does the sound stutter. And you can set it up with timers — a timer to start, a timer to end, and a timer to just gently fade out. They’ve got an Android app, but no iPhone yet.
You can even share your own mix. Mine is rain, thunder, and waves, with a little wind and a hint of singing bowl thrown in. I’m absolutely in love.
There is a fierce joy in being sore. I’m one of those people who doesn’t really respond to cardio; I’d rather chew glass than walk thirty minutes on a treadmill. But I love pushing pieces of metal around. The idea of bulking up never bothered me. I want to look badass! I want to be badass! My life has been, more or less, an extended attempt to attain and maintain some kind of dignity, which I never think I have. Stupidly Sisyphean. But we all have our quirks, I suppose. So anyway, I love pushing weights around. I love feeling the steering in my car get softer — it’s an old car, with a carburetor and “assisted” steering, a term describing something that is almost, but not entirely unlike, power steering; I love feeling how stable I am getting up the stairs after apparently years of screwed up posture leg … Read on!