...that I did work today, which is notable, and now it is noted.
The work consisted of digging three holes, which isn't as easy as you might think, those of you who unaccountably do not live on two acres of glacial moraine, or at the very least two acres of shale thinly covered with what we'll call soil.
Why, you ask, was I moved to do work on a fine Maine morning when I ought to have been, um, writing?
Well, I'm glad you asked that question. Alert readers will recall that several days ago I acquired, in defiance of both the Lawn Guy's Assistant, and the neighbor's road-crossing, if not actually free-ranging chickens, plants for the Cat Garden, which has, through the direct intervention of said Forces of Nature more or less become a Weed Garden.
It had been hot and humid the last few days, not at all the sort of weather to encourage a sedentary and overweight author of more than middle years to go outside and dig holes in the garden. So, I left the plants, in their pots, in approximately the locations I had chosen for their eventual homes. I watered them each day, but they were looking sort of droopy and sad by this morning, so it was just very fortunate that today was gorgeously blue, and breezy, and dry, and of a temperature that someone who lives in Maine would find reasonable for July.
So! Three holes. Not exactly in the locations previously chosen -- did I mention we live on shale? Also there are trees, and trees have roots. Lots of roots. No, really; look it up.
In between the rocks and roots, then -- three holes.
One hole for the Cherry Pops Bee Balm which replaces the Murdered Bee Balm of yesteryear. Bee balm attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and, well, bees. This particular sort claims to be deer and mildew resistant.
One hole for the Wishing Well Plantain Lily, aka Hosta Wishing Well. This plant attracts hummingbirds and has a mounding habit, so I envision a Mountain of Hosta in my future.
The third and final hole -- actually the first dug -- was for the White Frost Hemerocallis -- aka a day lily with a curly yellow trumpet not only bigger than my head, but damn' near bigger than Trooper. It is two feet high. Who can say no to a two-foot-high day lily that has flowers the size of a coon cat? It's big enough to be sentient. Indeed, I have some hope that it will be writing next year's book.
I will also mention here that I have received and have been testing various bug repellents. It is in my mind to go with the least application that is still effective. To that end, I began today with the bug repellent bracelet, fully expecting that I would need to come inside and upgrade.
In this, I was disappointed. I did hear one rather insistent buzz, but closer inspection revealed the author to be a hummingbird, who was apparently under the impression that he was paying me for these plantings, and I could pick the pace up a bit, if I didn't mind. Or, given hummingbirds, even if I did mind.
So, having now made the record complete, I believe I'll. . .
. . .do some work.
41. The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh
40. Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir, Mark Vonnegut MD (e)
39. The Rule of Luck, Catherine Cerveny (e) (arc)
38. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e)
36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34. The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13. Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12. Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9. Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8. Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7. White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6. The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5. Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4. The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2. Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)
One of the things that has been making me furious about sexual harassment lately–secondary to all the other things that make me furious about it–is the attention tax it imposes on women. The time spent figuring out whether there’s enough evidence for us to be taken seriously this time, whether the people who were in the “surely you misinterpreted” and “that doesn’t mean what it blatantly means” camp last time will finally take us seriously, the time spent recovering from someone shouting in our faces and someone else grabbing our asses, the time sharing stories and pooling information and cleaning up messes and figuring out what to do, what we can do, what we have the power to do. That is time not spent on other things that are frankly a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
When it’s in convention terms, the time spent discussing who did what and what to do and letting the adrenaline settle and coping is time not spent on ideas for books and stories and where to go with them. It is very directly a tax on attention that could and should be going toward work. And it makes me exhausted and resentful, and then I try to corral my attention back to my work, because that is a far, far better place for it to be. I have directly observed that when I am at a con where people are dealing with an ongoing situation of this type, I come back with far, far less in the way of inspired notes for new projects–not just coming away drained instead of energized, but the specifics of what business are we doing here, where is our attention going.
I’m lucky. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of good straight, white men. One of the benefits of this is that when a straight, white dude is an asshole, I am clear that it is artisanal assholery that he is hand-crafting by choice, not a trait he can’t avoid by his demographics. And a lot of good straight, white men have been stepping up to share the work of dealing with sexual harassment on a community level. I appreciate it. I do. But that is a choice they are making. Statistically, on average, the nonconsensual part, the part where you have to cope with the fallout of being harassed again, the part where it happens several times in a row and then it’s on your mind and you go into the next professional situation having to have a plan for how to cope–that’s a drain on your time and attention that you cannot have back, that other people can help with structurally but not in the moment. They can donate their time but not hand you back yours, not give you back those hours and days of working on the situation and processing and coping. It can happen to men. It does happen to men. And as one woman I know never loses an opportunity to point out, it does not happen to every woman. But statistically, on average, it is an attention tax that falls much, much more heavily on women, for things that we did not ask for and cannot change.
It’s not just sexual harassment. This is not the only attention tax, and I don’t mean to talk as though it is. Racist bullshit and the people who visit it upon people of color? That is, among other worse things, an attention tax on those people of color. Having to cope with accessibility issues and prejudice against the disabled? Attention tax. Homophobia and other forms of anti-queer assholery? Attention tax. Navigating the world while neurodiverse, even in ways that do not feel like a disability internally, among people who are going to be utter jerks to any hint of non-neurotypicality? Attention tax. And while I’ve talked about men and women above, the amount of attention tax that falls on gender-nonconforming and non-binary people gets mind-bogglingly larger the more gender-policing the subculture they’re interacting with gets. One of the fundamental questions is: how much jerkitude are people going to blithely shovel on you for being you and then skip along with their day, and how much will that pull away from the focus you need to do your stuff that you do.
Do I imagine I’m the first to observe this? Hardly. But “show don’t tell” is hardly new advice, either, and writers get blog posts out of that several times a year. What I’m saying to you is: this is affecting the work of people you know and care about. All the time. It doesn’t have to. It is literally all entirely voluntary. The thing I said above about artisanal bullshit: last month I got very tired of people saying “so that’s a thing that happened” when they were describing a choice someone made. So let’s not do that. Let’s not ascribe to fundamental forces things that are actual bad choices people are making.
And also: people who are doing work through all these attention taxes, who are managing to push it aside and fight their way through to focusing on making something awesome: I see you. I appreciate you. I’m sorry it’s like this. I keep hoping that some of the draining work will gain us some ground and it will be long-term less necessary. But in the meantime, thanks for clawing back some of your own in the face of it. It’s so hard, and it matters so much.
We paid last December for a guy to come check inside the house when the phone line was acting wonky, and all he could come up with was recommending that we replace the jack and the splitter and the rest of the connecting stuff. Which we got the material to do, and then the problem went away on its own before Himself got around to it, so the material stayed in the bag we brought it home from the store in for the last six months. Then we had this latest round of dead phone line and yo-yo internet, and Himself finally did all the replacing, but it did no good.
If this keeps up, I'm giving serious thought to going to fiber-optic for internet and cell phone service for the telephone, and the hell with a landline.
Liaden Universe(R) InfoDump No. 118
LEE AND MILLER WRITERS GUESTS OF HONOR AT CONFLUENCE, PITTSBURGH, AUGUST 4-6
Here's your link to the convention's page: http://parsec-sff.org/confluence/
Here's your link to the Master Schedule for the Enitre Weekend: http://parsec-sff.org/konopas/#
Here's your link to Steve's Schedule for the Entire Weekend: http://parsec-sff.org/konopas/#part/208
Here's your link to Sharon's Schedule for the Entire Weekend: http://parsec-sff.org/konopJas/#part/207
Steve and Sharon are really looking to being at Confluence, and seeing you! Yes, YOU! Among other things, we'll be hosting a Teddy Bear Tea, so be sure to bring your favorite traveling plush friend along.
See you soon!
LEE AND MILLER WRITER GUESTS OF HONOR AT MIDSOUTHCON, MARCH 9-11, 2018
Here's your link to the convention's page: http://midsouthcon.org/
MORE ADVENTURES IN THE LIADEN UNIVERSE(R)
Earlier this month, Due Diligence: Adventures in the Liaden Universe(R) No. 24 was published as an ebook, and, a few days later, in response to, er, an outpouring of requests, as a paper book. Ebook editions are available at Baen Ebooks (in all formats known to man); Amazon (kindle); BN (epub); Kobo; iBooks, &c. The paper edition of this book is ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH AMAZON.
Change Management: Adventures in the Liaden Universe(R) Number 23, which was published as an ebook earlier this year, is also now available as a print book FROM AMAZON ONLY.
We will -- SLOWLY -- be offering the rest of the Adventures in the Liaden Universe(R) backlist in paper. They will all be available, when they are available, from Amazon ONLY.
Sadly, we have fallen behind the rather ambitious schedule we set for ourselves. We are in the process of rethinking the schedule into a promise we can keep, and hope to resume reading stories for your listening pleasure realsoonnow.
For those who have not yet listened to the stories that are on offer, here's your link (only Patreon subscribers may listen): https://www.patreon.com/leeandmiller
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION
The Maine Sunday Telegram ran a very nice piece on Lee and Miller and the Liaden Universe(R). Here's your link: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/07/16/
Offworld Designs carries Tree-and-Dragon shirts, in blue denim and black; t-shirts, unisex and ladies; polo shirts in two colors; coffee mugs, too! You know you want this gear. Of course you want this gear!
Here's your link to great shopping: https://www.offworlddesigns.com/search.
Alliance of Equals will be released from Baen as a mass market paperback on August 29.
Lee and Miller will see short story "Dawn's Early Light," published in All Hail Our Robot Conquerors, from Zombies Need Brains LLC, in August. "Dawn..." is a new story.
Baen has commissioned a short story in support of Neogenesis, to be published to Baen.com in mid-December.
Neogenesis, formerly Fourth of Five, will be published as a hardcover and as an ebook on January 2, 2018. We assume that there will be an audio edition, but we have not heard that this is so. Those who indulge in eArcs should start cruising the Baen website in early November.
Original Lee and Miller story, "Excerpts from Two Lives," will be published in the Baen anthology Ship of the Line, to be published in 2018.
Also! Look for the Agent of Change 30th anniversary edition from Baen in 2018!
Blogs and Other Webly Things of Note
Sharon Lee’s blog, Eagles over the Kennebec: https://rolanni.dreamwidth.org/ NOTE NEW ADDRESS
Sharon Lee’s “Professional” blog: http://sharonleewriter.com
Steve Miller's blog, Journeyman: https://kinzel.dreamwidth.org/
Lee and Miller Patreon Support Page: https://www.patreon.com/leeandmiller?ty=
Pinbeam Books: http://www.pinbeambooks.com an online catalog, with vendor links, to all Lee-and-Miller eChapbooks
Splinter Universe: http://www.splinteruniverse.com features outtakes, splinters, oddities from the Lee&Miller writing career, currently changes irregularly.
Welcome to Liad — The official homepage for Liaden Universe® news — http://www.korval.com
The Hyperspatial Boardwalk Shop: T-shirts, mugs, more! -- http://www.cafepress.com/hyperspatial
Liaden Interest Groups on Facebook
Clan Korval: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=
Friends of Liad: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=
Flaran chamenthi: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=
Steve’s on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bechimo
Sharon’s on Twitter, too: http://twitter.com/ClanKorval
This InfoDump is a product of the Liaden Universe®, accept no imitations. You have received this message because you asked for it. If you wish to subscribe to the Liaden Universe® email list, to unsubscribe from the Liaden Universe® email list, or to change your delivery email address, go here: http://www.fireopal.org/cgi-bin/mailman/
I'm not holding my breath, though. And if he hasn't shown up by 6:30, I'm calling them again to complain.
Having a weekend with partner in Frankfurt.
Hotel perhaps overdoing the stylish minimalism: why does this always mean, nowhere to put stuff in the bathroom? However, good marks for the breakfast buffet.
On matters of modern design, am I the only person who finds themself waving their hands at a tap that turns on some other way, and vice versa?
Today to the Stadel- art gallery, very good stuff and lots of it. Among works observed, one C16th courtesan as Flora, with obligatory symbolickal bubbie displayed.
Also to the Arts and Crafts Museum, which has gone full-on poncey and eschews labeling in favour of composing curatorial 'constellations'. Though I could have spent more time with the shiny pillow-like balloons that one was permitted even exhorted to touch. (Sometimes I am shallow and frivolous.)
Some general flaneurserie, looking into churches, etc.
How I love listening to intelligent people! And it’s exhilarating (if scary) to try to make sense on panels.
Only three mishaps, one on the way over. The highway traffic was appalling, bumper-to-bumper, and my lift, distracted by Siri’s countermands, slid gently into the car ahead, out of which burst an irate and vengeful Chinese couple, dancing like furies round and round both cars, heedless of the six-lane traffic, shouting, “You pay cash! You pay cash!” But on the sight of a cellphone, they vanished like spirits at cockcrow.
Next, I discovered that I’d left my carefully curated selection of chocolate and tea—all carefully matched to my program—on a chair at home. Ah well, there were M&Ms in the green room. And Taylor’s of Harrogate tea, not at all shabby.
After my reading, I found I’d lost an especially pretty and unmatchable hand-painted bead-button from a favorite dress, and was disconsolate. It could have fallen off anywhere in the hotel. But I searched what I could search—my room—before checking out, and discovered the button in the darkest corner of the closet, glinting back at my Light app like a mouse’s eye. I felt (as one does) disproportionately elated. I swear it hadn't been there the first six times I looked. Don’t you love happy endings?
I heard four remarkable readings. Sonya Taaffe gave us intense shards of poetry and a short story about the post-punk tutelary spirit of a Birmingham canal; Lila Garrott read from their astonishing misfits-in-Utopia novel-in-progress, which is stranger than you can imagine, and utterly lucid; Kathleen Jennings read part of an Australian Gothic novella about an outback town invaded, all but strangled, by alien intrusive flowers, and a tale of a wandering exile oneirically entangled in a Briar-Rose-like labyrinth. And the peerless John Crowley read from his essential mythic tale of an immortal crow, Ka : Dar Oakley in the ruin of Ymr. It will be out at last in September! He gave me an ARC! Calloo!
For all the brilliance, all the wisdom, wit, and passion lavished on the dizzying array of panels, the hour I remember most vividly was the hilarious Terrible But Great, on irresistibly awful books. What a hoot!
Of my own panels, Good Influences and Sororal Fantasies were simply a joy; and I plume myself on getting through the Deaths of Gods with James Morrow and Max Gladstone without being cut to ribbons intellectually. It was like jumping into Double Dutch with lasers. But I sideslipped the Tetragrammaton: I went pagan, and talked about the voice from the island crying, “The great Pan is dead,” and about walking down through San Clemente in Rome, from Baroque exultation, down through mediaeval austerity, the abyssal ἰχθύς of the catacombs, the rock-hewn and bull-blooded temple of Mithras, down to the ever-welling spring.
And my reading—always the locus of hope and anxiety—went quite well. There were more than a handful in the audience: they listened intently, laughed at the right places, and asked impassioned questions. They loved the scene I hadn’t read before, about John Donne’s wife and daughter and the compasses. And wonder of wonders, I have a recording! As many of you know, Readercon has been recording its panels and readings for decades, way back to wax cylinders (for all I know), and squirreling them away in a vault somewhere. Possibly in catacombs. After the apocalypse, I imagine they’ll be used to recreate civilization from scratch. Gods help us all. I’ve been asking forever and ever where the archived recordings go. Some of us would love to revisit fondly remembered hours. (There was that panel on language when Crowley recited the first page of Lolita...) This time, the sound guy (there's only one, racing about like an electron) said, Sure. Got a USB stick? I had, and he just popped the files onto it. Golly.
The bookroom is simply paradise.
Over the four days, I had lively and engaging conversations with (among others) ashnistrike , sovay , rushthatspeaks , gaudior , yhlee , negothick , Crowley, Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter, Glenn Grant, Michael Damian Thomas, and too little time with John Clute and Liz Hand, Chip Delany, and Suzy McKee Charnas. Long may they all continue! Oh, and the little Fox came on Sunday and charmed everyone. He's just learned to wave bye-bye, and has acquired an enchanting deep chortle when you fly him overhead.
Then I tottered home and slept eleven hours...
I’m back from Boston! I had a lovely time going to Readercon and writing and seeing friends and riding back and forth on the T and wandering up and down Mass Ave. I am now convinced that wandering up and down Mass Ave is a substantial part of what you do in Boston. Things are there. Also, every time you come out of the Harvard T, there is Greer Gilman, so it is written and so it must be.
But other, less eternal things are written, and you can read them! Such as this interview about my story in the July/August issue of F&SF. Interview with me! Things you might want to know! or maybe not, but there it is anyway.
I answered these interview questions in the spring, and one of the things they’re showing me now is that life moves fast. Well. I knew that. And if it’s going to move fast and smell all right while it goes, I’d better get a load of laundry in. More, much more, soon, now that I’m home for awhile.