Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

In lieu of any other type of birthday gift...
ajodasso's what I want between tonight and tomorrow: reviews on Lost Books and The Dishonesty of Dreams. If a) you have read one or both of these books and b) you have an account, please consider leaving a review. It doesn't matter how brief or lengthy; it doesn't matter how complimentary or critical. I'm aware that reviews are not necessarily the make-or-break-a-writer credentials in this world, but, nonetheless, they serve as a record of what readers think (and they also help potential new readers decide whether they're going to buy the books or not).

Birthday wishes are coming in on Facebook, for which I thank you! ♥

December Blogging Meme Topic #18:
What are your favorite words, and why?

arc, astonishing, audacity, colophon, constellation, depiction, diptych, dreamless, electrum, epilogue, fragility, fossil, ghost, heliotrope, hyacinth, insterstice, iris, ivy, lapidary, liminal, limitless, London, numinous, parallax, quire, rarity, recollection, Rigel, sassafras, stairwell, stone, tendril, travelogue, triptych, vellum, vortex

This is not a complete list. Many of these words are plants of which I'm fond; words and plants are intimately tangled in my memory because early language acquisition went hand in hand with learning and memorizing the names of various flora. Many of these words are to do with time or states of being (or both). A few are related to astronomy, codicology, and paleontology; others, I love based on quality of sound and/or orthography.

Autism spectrum resource recommendations?
I've finally found the time to read this book, which I've had since August. I'm finding it engaging, informative, and the right balance of clinical / anecdotal, although the author definitely seems to have fairly rigid ideas about "girls on the autism spectrum are like X" and "boys on the autism spectrum are like Y" and rarely in twain the two shall meet; you can point out trends from research data, but please at least acknowledge that you have a somewhat traditionalist approach in the way you regard gender, dear author). I've been told I should read Thinking in Pictures and Aspergirls next, and I'm finding link-and-book posts from ada_hoffmann and shehasathree helpful.

Still, if there's anything out there that's more off the beaten track that you think might be worth my attention, let me know? I'm reading more than I'm writing for once.

December Blogging Meme Topics #16 & #17
Are there things that will always make you back away when reading a story?

Are there things that are guaranteed to make you keep reading a story?

On the first count, character-torture for no reason other than to be gratuitously cruel to both characters and readers turns me right off. I won't stand for it, especially not when those characters have already been through enough. If the hardship doesn't result in significant character growth or demonstrable benefit to the plot, forget it, I'm out. I have a hard time with gaslighting, but I can't remember the last time I put something down solely because it was there (again: if character and plot development result, chances are I'll stay). I have an easier time reading descriptions of certain kinds of graphic violence than I do watching depictions of same, although there are some varieties I can't even read about (bone injuries don't go over well).

The two other reliable turn-offs, I guess, are a) overwrought prose that's condescending to the reader and b) poor grasp of grammar and spelling. And, yes, I do take ability, age, education level, and experience into account. The the more clues I have that the writer in question should know better, the less I can abide glaring technical errors.

Otherwise, what will keep me reading depends entirely on how the writer handles, well, everything in a given piece. I'm aware that's probably far too open-ended an answer for anyone's taste, but I've encountered works of literature in which things that don't even generally interest me are handled in such a compelling fashion that I'm riveted!

December Blogging Meme Topic #14:
Talk about things (if there are any) that you are content to contemplate without engaging (writing about them, or otherwise interacting with).

You know, the significant ones that come to mind are the web-comics I read! I follow Homestuck, Three-Panel Soul, SPQR Blues, Scandinavia and the World, Oglaf, and Girls Next Door religiously, yet I almost never talk about the fact that I read them. I spend so much time discussing everything else that I read and write, so it's kind of refreshing to have some mental processing of media that I largely keep to myself.

December Blogging Meme Topic #13:
What's a fandom you want to write in but never found the right story for?

If I think back over time, I have a few of those: Rome, Slings & Arrows, and Life On Mars. If I love a piece of media deeply, though, and don't immediately break down and start writing, chances are that it felt complete enough in most respects that I know slipping my fingers into the clockwork to make adjustments isn't really necessary. The ones I love enough to stick with and also leave too much between the lines and too many questions unanswered? Those are the ones that'll have me plotting in well under a week (or, as the case may be, in well under twenty-four to forty-eight hours). I also spend a lot of time thinking about the six months or so when I was an undergrad in which I read a great deal of Askewniverse fic. I was so convinced I'd try my hand at it, but then I never did. To this day, I still love those films and those stories. I'm overdue for a marathon.

December Blogging Meme Topics #11 & #12 (missed yesterday)
All thorns & no grace
My head exploded last night, hence the need to play catch-up.

What, for you, is the purpose of poetry? Why do you read it? Why do you write it? Why do you publish it, and how do you choose where to publish?

When I first started writing at the age of thirteen (late bloomer, by most standards; nearly all my friends who write say they were composing stories or verse as early as kindergarten), it was all verse and no prose except when I was writing essays for school.  Poetry was, to my perception, writing at its pinnacle of expression: concise, cutting, and spectacular given how much it could convey in such limited space on the page.  To me, poetry is necessarythe written distillation of our most immediate, urgent, and visceral experiences.  At its best, poetry should function like music (specific enough to grab our attention, yet universal enough for anyone to read into it what they wish).  I don't self-publish poetry except when I post locked drafts to this blog, so I can't answer that part of your question until such time as I become a publisher; however, what determines where I submit my work is a combination of factors.  Like so many people who find themselves classed as speculative, I seem to be one of those writers whose work rarely fares well when submitted to "mainstream" venues, but who has fared exceedingly well in the past decade when submitted to SF/F/Spec markets (to the point, of course, where I eventually ended up on staff at Strange Horizons).  Ultimately, what determines whether I'll send my work somewhere is whether I enjoy the publication or not.

Your favorite foreign-language phrases and why you like them so much?

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy (Polish: Not my circus, not my monkeys).  I love that phrase to death, not least because it's extremely snarky.  As a longtime francophile, I'm extremely fond of Qu'est-ce que c'est? as an interrogative.  It trips pleasingly off the tongue.

December Blogging Meme Topic #10:
All thorns & no grace
What's been the change about online interaction and/or communities that [fill-in-the-blank verb] you the most?

The shift to greater brevity of posts (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) and the relative decline of comment-culture have been the two changes to which it's taken me the longest to adapt. I miss the huge, sprawling comment-thread discussions that you used to get in LJ's golden age; for all I know, there are still some places on the internet where this kind of thing happens, but it does not appear to be here anymore. Like/kudos buttons are fantastic from the standpoint of convenience, but I do feel that they've at least in part led to the relative decline in commenting. I'm not sure what verb to choose here, because disappoints me the most isn't quite what I'm looking for, and neither is saddens me the most. I might have to settle on challenges me the most, because it's true; for a while, I struggled to find my feet on Twitter and Tumblr. LJ never required an adjustment period or sussing-out, as I feel like I hit the ground running from the moment I got here (even with the interface, which I never found particularly arcane). Increased brevity and speed are a whole new world.

Found while trawling my blog archives for broken links:
Glad to see you
I started this journal on 20 January 2002; that means I've been posting here more or less consistently for just a month shy of thirteen years. This week, I've managed to comb through all posts from 2002 and 2003, and, in the process, I discovered a number of locked poem-drafts that I had completely forgot even existed. I don't think that these pieces are viable in their present state, but what's interesting to me about all of them is that they date from about March through December 2003. I've been sending them to a friend who I'm mentoring, as they've begun to write poetry only just recently. They've been asking questions like How often do you have to scrap a draft because it's unsalvageable? and What was your early work like?

My earliest work would technically be from about 1994 or 1995, but I'd hardly call my juvenalia material to be taken seriously outside a junior-high English class context. When it comes to discovering old drafts, it's stuff from about 2000 onward that interests me. I was deeply unhappy in music school, and writing was one of my coping mechanisms. 2003 was the transition year in which I left my music program and entered an English program, so it fascinates me that the drafts I've found all seem to have clustered in that window. As a point of reference, the earliest poems in my first collection, Lost Books (2010), date to 2004.

Four Very Old Poems: March - December 2003Collapse )

December Blogging Meme Topic #9:
Do you have fictional buttons, character constellations, or themes that you particularly love to read (and/or write) about? Are there clichés that you love?

This will sound slightly absurd, but I didn't catch on till this year that I have a definite thing for thwarted apocalypses wherein the world (whether it's the microcosm of a relationship or the world as in the world) gets a second chance. Good Omens hitting my radar in 2004, sticking, and never going away wasn't even sufficient to clue me in; it took Pacific Rim hitting my radar in late 2013, sticking, and (so far) having not gone away to make me stop and think, Wait a minute. If I operate under this assumption and consider most of my other narrative preoccupations, the pattern holds. Hot Fuzz is another great example, and you can also make the argument for Toy Soldiers. Past that point, you really are getting down to looking at relationship microcosms wherein something cataclysmic happens, the relationship survives it, and then I'm left dealing with fall-out and all of its bewildering, miraculous consequences. You even get the relationship microcosms within the worlds where an almost-apocalypse literally occurs at the broader-world lever. It doesn't matter if that apocalypse is the one mentioned in the Bible or a plague of alien monsters emerging from the sea; it doesn't matter if it's a quiet English town threatened by murderous civic officials or a rural prep school besieged by terrorists. When worlds very nearly end and then don't, I'm left standing in awe at the enormity of life being handed back to the characters I love. These are only a few examples in the broader scope of my fascinations over the years, but if you've been here for the past twelve years (and most of you have), this is the most accurate explanation of what will enthrall my devotion and never let it go.