Sean took this gorgeous photo here in Cape Breton a couple of days ago, and I thought it would make a good visual image for a post about the end of summer.
It's been a busy one. A sick and recovering kitty, a return trip to Iceland, the writing of my first peer-reviewed publication, the writing of my first space opera short story, writing conferences, funding proposals, household repairs, and other important and sometimes stressful (but less public) issues.
I should be catching up on writing career things while I'm between semesters, but now that I have my studio back, this blog post is crowding the front of my mind. So I'm going to get it out of the way first, and then I'll work on that story stamping its feet in the queue.
In recent weeks (since the Orlando shooting), I've read a great deal of frustration from people where it concerns offering thoughts and prayers to tragic situations. I understand where this frustration comes from. It's easier to 'like' a post or write a quick note of sympathy and get on with the day than it is to engage a tragic situation, so offering thoughts and prayers can seem trite to people who are suffering.
I've been struggling with this blog entry for over a week now, but in the wake of Mary Robinette Kowal's excellent post, I decided it was finally time to collect my own thoughts and write about the controversy around this year's Hugo awards. I'm not terribly certain how all of those thoughts will come together here, so I hope you'll be patient with me as I muddle through.
One of the most important things we can do as women is to support the strength of other women. When we undermine the concerns of another woman, when we downplay her righteous anger, when we say to others that she 'just gets that way sometimes', 'had a hard life', or 'simply doesn't understand', we are saying to the world that the voices of women are not worth hearing. It is a fundamental betrayal, a violation of trust and it does harm to all women everywhere.
Before Winter passed away, I began a blog post about creativity but never finished it. The post was so dry; 'received structures' and 'creative scaffolding' and such. I deleted the twisty thing, and good riddance.
Good writing is shamanism. You journey in and down and out, unclutter your mind and soul with everybody else's stories until you find the ones you need to tell, there in the shapeless void. You mound-sit and speak with the dead about what they see from the walls of Helheim, across the river of swords, on the slender branches of Yggdrasil that touch the infinite night.
I wrote the other day about the possibility that I might serialize Twilight of the World Sea People, and I've decided to hold off on that a while, for a few important reasons. First, it would be much harder to build a readership entirely from self-publishing now than it would be later as a traditionally-published writer with one or two novels under my belt. This is a well-known downside to self-publishing; that no matter how good a book is, finding readers for it is harder for people without the reach of a traditional publisher. Second, the book I have outlined and ready to write now (Motherland I) might genuinely be a better first book in the series, and it would represent a second opportunity to introduce a traditional publisher to this universe. Third, I would have the opportunity to revise TWSP in light of further storytelling in the series and present it as a possible Book III (Motherland is a duology).
I worry that I'm becoming one of those people who only writes anything meaningful when it's couched in fiction or poetry. I keep thinking I should blog about something important, and I do from time to time on PaganSquare, but when I approach writing for my own blog I frequently back away. I thought about writing on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy two weeks ago, but then I realized it would be foolish to wade into that awful conversation any more than I already had. May the dead rest in peace, and may the living hold them in cherished memory.
I have a confession to make. I'm reading all those near-future, dystopian novels everybody is complaining about (except the ones with zombies), even though I'm complaining about them too (I am large, I contain multitudes). A child of Jehovah's Witnesses, I was taught to believe the End of Days would come to pass in my lifetime. So even though my understanding of the world is more nuanced now, I have this not-so-secret infatuation with apocalypses, especially the kind with aliens. I also read comic books.
It is best for man to be middle-wise,
Not over cunning and clever:
The learned man whose lore is deep
Is seldom happy at heart.
- The Hávamál
It seems I always come back to this quote from the Hávamál when I consider the possibility of furthering my formal education. As a person with a Master's degree, I feel solidly middle-wise by modern standards; I've made a respectable academic effort, and yet the esoterica offered by a terminal degree program are outside my frame of reference. I've considered this degree or that; a MA in Ethnomusicology, Icelandic Studies or Celtic, a MFA in Writing, a PhD in English, a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and all of these are within my grasp if I want them enough.