Get your ticket here.
February 16th, 2017
February 9th, 2017
What I've decided is that it's everyone's personal responsibility to stay informed and be aware of the outrages being perpetrated daily (which has been the case since well before this egregous uptick in awfulness, btw), to be aware that things perpetrated by these lying fucks are already impacting the lives of people and other animals in serious, injurious, and life-threatening ways. Further to that, here are a couple of links to resources for staying informed, if you don't already:
- Stephanie Leary's Fascism Watch, a good general rundown: http://s-leary.tumblr.com/tagged/fascis
- What the Fuck Just Happened Today: https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.co
- The Guardian, which has become my news source of choice (consider throwing some money their way): https://www.theguardian.com/us
I can't let those horrible people take up so much real estate in my brain and imagination, I need it for better, much more attractive, things. Given the state of my lungs and other health issies...I just don't want to waste my beautiful mind on them. And, as it says in this nice little op-ed piece from Arianna Huffington, "The goal of any true resistance is to affect outcomes, not just to vent. And the only way to affect outcomes and thrive in our lives, is to find the eye in the hurricane, and act from that place of inner strength."
January 10th, 2017
SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS is set for a May 16 publication from Resurrection House. I am very thankful to everyone involved in bringing this novel to its best, including my late agent Linn Prentis, her successor Trodayne Northern, Mark Teppo of Resurrection House.
More info at Amazon, Indigo, or Barnes & Noble pre-order pages, and at my website.
December 30th, 2016
It looks like this:
DT tweets a straight-up lie, like taking credit for job creation or economy boosting that’s to Obama’s credit, not his, and mainstream media news orgs repeat or report it unexamined—
CNN entertains questions about whether Jews are human—
DT appoints egregiously racist individual—
Anyone tries to equate the protests and free speech of hate that threatens harm to others with protests and free speech about protecting lives and the environment—
DT appoints individual who is entirely anti-whatever the post is—
DT tweets displeasure with a private citizen and his followers besiege that person with threats—
Organizations and individuals normalize white supremacy—responsible for the worst crimes in recorded history—as if it’s legitimate and can reasonably be part of civilized discourse—
People in a position to standup usefully against him are silenced or say we need to get along, we need to wait and see—
Every affront to justice and our better natures—
Say it loudly. Keep saying it. However you can, with whatever resources you can muster.
Of course, no’s cognate YES must also be liberally (heh, see what I did there?) applied: YES, to art and science, to kindness, to generosity, open minds, learning, teaching; YES to growing our awareness and understanding of others (except hateful bullies and the psychopaths and sociopaths in power those bullies support, none of whom have any interest in growing or learning or understanding back, because NO to victimizing ourselves over and over for a lost cause); YES to the beauty and reality of diversity, possibility, supporting and celebrating all that is good; YES to standing up for each other, for our amazing, precious planet, for animals, and YES to saying NO to individuals and regimes that threaten any of it.
December 13th, 2016
Lost a lot of bright lights from the humanscape, too.
On the personal front, I've had some pretty demoralizing health patches--but, 2016 has also brought a few very goods in my life. SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS found a home with awesome Resurrection House Books and I couldn't be happier about that; I got to go to Sycamore Hill and--painful fingers wrapped like sausages despite--really loved being there and spending time with a bunch of wonderful fellow writers; and the luminous Ellen Datlow bought my Sycamore Hill story, "Bourbon, Sugar, Grace" for Tor.com.
I also got to spend lovely time with my beloved sister for the occassion of her daughter's wedding and have felt the support and love of friends and family.
Good things happened in the world, too, and will continue to do so, evil dystopic abusive bullies in power despite--unless of course that giant meteor takes us all out. Until then, however, it behooves us each to be the best and kindest--to ourselves, other humans, other animals, and the environment that sustains us--that we can be, in whatever ways that we can encompass.
November 22nd, 2016
If you must use alt-right, it's neo-Nazi alt-right, or fascist, racist, hate is our brand alt-right. Those are the correct terms. Use them. Or just use Nazi, because, despite sophistry about neo vs. old-style, or about how some are nazis and some are KKK and others are just 'white nationalists,' Nazi is still, in terms of aims and behaviors, correct. See also: worst element of regressive evil in humanity, right there beside Isis. They are not the future, they are the worst of the past. Not the "children of the sun," the children of hate, they create nothing but misery for others.
This is not normal. We cannot move forward with these people. I know that sucks; we all want our normal lives back. But perhaps you should go look at some pictures and reports from Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and other documentation of Nazi Germany's normalization of 'alt-right' philosophies, go look so you can see exactly what it is you're enabling.
Then stand up, call it out when you see it or hear it, don't allow it take hold in your community, in your life, in your own self. Take whatever nonviolent action you can, make our systems of law and our checks and balances work for us. Hold the media to task when they enable--and they're doing it now.
Speak up. However it is that you can. Whether it's encouraging or facilitating real conversation and critical thought as an educator; making art; calling out silent acquiescence to fascist, abusive, racist, misogynist, ableist behavior; organizing, writing letters, going to protests, signing petitions, making phone calls; providing support to the most vulnerable or to organizations doing good work; subscribing to news orgs and then demanding truly clear headed, real reporting from them (hint: If they use 'alt-right,' correct them and tell them not to do the Nazi's rebranding PR work for them).
If you think this is an overreaction, please behold my psychic powers: you are white, have some financial resources, and are probably not Jewish (though the phenomenon of individuals punching themselves in the face exists widely. See: white women who voted for Trump). And then think about how Nazi Germany ultimately turned out for everyone in that country. Hint: not good. And if you are a white person with some financial resources, it's so fucking important for you to stand up, speak up, and not remain silent.
This kind of action, is what Trump, in all his corrupt, delusional, thin-skinned self-aggrandizement, represents for everyone who is not one of him. (He has financial stake in that pipeline.) The list of what these people don't actually care about is: everything and everyone but their own power and deluded self-interest.
And by the way, a majority of Americans picked Hillary; she won the popular vote by roughly two million.
I'm not saying run around like a chicken with your head cut off; I am saying don't accept this as normal. Yes, continue to live your life, but live a reality of kindness, compassion, love, speaking up for what's right, taking action, dancing, singing, celebrating what's worth celebrating, giving back, engaging in joy, and don't let the slimiest, nastiest elements of human society raise a flag of hate and horror over us all.
ETA: Here's an online curriculum: WHO, IF NOT YOU?
How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults
November 10th, 2016
Day 1 in Trump's America
Welcome to Trump’s America: 87 reports of people bullied by emboldened bigots — and the list is growingHow to Intervene in a Racist Attack
November 3rd, 2016
This is not a fucking drill, people.
September 29th, 2016
September 9th, 2016
Thank you for your attention.
June 4th, 2016
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.
April 14th, 2016
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.
March 29th, 2016
March 14th, 2016
But, meanwhile, Resurrection House (I have, elsewhere, called this press redoubtable, and it is) has acquired my novel SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS for its Arche Press speculative fiction imprint!!! No, really, !!! Substrate Phantoms is far future science fiction, set, to begin with, on a space station plagued by a strange haunting. It's currently slated for a winter/spring 2017 release, and I can't wait for people, for you guys (you're people!), for everyone to read it!
Been waiting to use that book ship icon for myself for a long time. Mega happy face, people.
January 27th, 2016
December 10th, 2015
November 24th, 2015
November 21st, 2015
We need to send all the idiot hate-heads who are too stupid to understand that being a refugee means you need refuge and being a civilized nation means you offer it to them, to live on the giant floating trash island in the ocean. Or to live with their violent, gun-loving religious extremist friends of all ilks...somewhere that's not where the rest of us are trying to live.
Big business doesn't appreciate the things that matter to me--art, creativity, compassion, kindness. I don't appreciate the things that are important to big business--massive executive salaries, power to pillage resources and make war, the bottom line--but big business keeps trying to colonize the world--my world--to its agenda. Fuck you big business.
*** and then, as a reminder to self, and because it can't be posted too often, really:
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” - Kurt Vonnegut.
A recent cat selfie:
Sunny with a chance of cat
If I had a buumper sticker on my car, it would be this: Literacy. Compassion. Cats.
October 30th, 2015
First night, Chinese ghosts:
A Chinese Ghost Story and A Chinese Ghost Story II
Two of my favorite films with creepy things in them--ghosts, tree demons with epic, hungry tongues, reanimated corpses, empty, corrupt shells of government officials and religious figures actually animated by devils--are A Chinese Ghost Story and A Chinese Ghost Story II. When I first saw A Chinese Ghost Story at the Dobie back in 1990, it was a revelation to me (even with its chop suey subtitles) in terms of having the lush supernatural creepy stuff that's the coolest thing about horror (to me) in conjunction with actual story, humor, wonder, and characters who don't all die in the end. A combination I'd been pining after, it seems.
Second night, space:
Alien and Aliens
Alien was the first horror movie I ever voluntarily lined up to see (on opening night in Philadelphia); I was 15 (yes, children, I am old). A friend had dragged me to see Jaws a few years earlier, and I never forgave her. So not my thing. But space! If it was going to be in space, I was in.
And for the first time, I got the appeal of horror movies--that total engagement, edge of the seat screaming thrill. Your attention on the edge with your body, totally in the moment, riding the roller coaster. Exhilarating catharsis. I discovered that a)I love horror in space, and b)if the cat survives, I'm okay with everyone else but the final girl dying. Plus, all those good things--a carefully built narrative and a well-built world peopled with real-feeling characters you can care about. Spaceship! (I'd been loving on spaceships since kidhood.) Very alien alien monster.
Where Alien is a horror movie in space, Aliens is really an adventure movie with horror elements--in space. One of my favorite recipes. Extraterrestrial planets (another thing I've been loving on since kidhood) and terraforming and cranky unfinished ecosystem, intrepid band of interesting/engageable characters--and not everyone dies! Win! Of the two, Aliens is actually the one I've viewed more often. I'm sure it's the source--even though I haven't watched it in a long while--of a recent dream in which I learned that when Sigourney Weaver is driving, you can park the car wherever the fuck you want.
Third night, those prints don’t go together:
Teeth and The Frighteners
These two movies don't really go together. Teeth is a biting, dark (also hilarious) indie tale of mutation and the evolution of vagina dentata as a survival response--which really, when you think about it, makes some sense. I really like the mordant intelligence of the movie.
The Frighteners is just fun. Peter Jackson directs Michael J. Fox and a cast of supporting goofballs; the story has a shadowed, sorrowful heart but wears an impish coat of dread whimsy. Plus, I love The Mutton Birds rendition of "Don't Fear the Reaper."
Fourth night, del Toro:
The Orphanage and Pan's Labyrinth
These are both Spanish language films, the first 'presented by' Guillermo del Toro, the second written and directed by him.
I like The Orphanage because it's dark, creepy, set by the sea and partakes of the Gothic with some good scary stuff, but has compassion--albeit a somewhat twisted compassion--at its heart.
Pan's Labyrinth is, for me, a wonderful dark (dark) fairy tale--as fairy tales properly were. I love the narrative's eye for detail and that so much of it is in the little girl's POV. I love that she's a reader, and faces her monsters--both worldly and otherworldly--with tenacious resilience. It doesn't matter if the otherworldly is real or imagined--the dread figures of the fantastical underworld and the brutal would-be father figure above are equally chilling. I like this movie because it's ambiguous but utterly satisfying just the same. It pricks your sense of wonder with a sharp, terrible claw.
Fifth night, zombie laughs:
Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland
Not sure there's much to say about these. Over-the-top black comedy silliness and fun. Shaun of the Dead is happily British and awesomely funny. Zombieland is mucho Norte Americano and lots of fun. Both movies are funny and dark with zombie violence, but with gooey hearts of sweet caramel. Sort of.
Today's bonus, the zombie apocalypse, Teddy bear style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61RJGQcG_
Final night, from Sweden to Heian era Japan:
Let the Right One In and Onmyoji
When I saw Let the Right One In with friends we had a lot of discussion as to whether it was really a horror movie (of course many of the movies in my ideal fest here have not technically been horror movies--but it's my ideal fest for the spooky time, not a horror film fest). I think it is, by the definition that what's implicit by the end of the movie is quite a horrible, chilling prospect. The Swedish are very good at well-constructed narrative, pacing, and matter-of-fact-dread coupled with everyday life and haunting beauty. Many people have praised Let the Right One In and it deserves the praise.
Onmyoji is a Japanese movie that tells the story of a court Onmyoji--which translates as the 'Yin Yang Master,' an occult master and fortune teller--in the Heian period, who safeguards the kingdom in a time when the land is plagued by evil forces. It's a costume epic full of the supernatural, sorcery, demons, ghosts, heroes, servant gods, metamorphic creatures, political intrigue, and betrayal. In short, awesome.
Thanks for coming to the fest. Please put your liquor bottles in the recycling and your popcorn tubs and candy wrappers in the trash. And leave a tip for the help.
October 15th, 2015
I'm the baby in the background. Brother and sister look wet, so we were probably playing with the hose.
Sister with dog, brother and I without.
Mom in green poncho carrying fall leaf. I don't think that's my brother behind us. Thanks to photographic degradation, it looks like a small phantom of the opera. We are alarmed.