May. 13th, 2013

robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
A couple of days ago, a good friend of mine from online texted me and we talked about why I have not been online for months - pretty much all of 2013 and for some time before that my participation dropped in all the areas where I'm active. The problem is financial. I had to cut back my Internet service from the $80 a month I spent to have enough bandwidth for my real usage to the shorter time on the $50 a month two year contract I had with Verizon. I told my friend I'd be back in August when that contract's over, since I intended to get a cheaper service with unlimited usage even if it was slower.

She totally blew me away. She bought me AT&T U-verse and Thursday is the start date for my new service. Wednesday is when UPS delivers my hardware to self-install. This is going to be fantastic. I can end my isolation and go back to living online.

I'm mostly shut-in. I go out to the hospital every two weeks to get my shot from a nurse and I go out every Monday afternoon to see my therapist, that's about it. Three days a week, home care workers come in to clean my room, help me bathe and cook some food for me. Without hanging out online I was way too isolated and when SSI started taking more out of my check for money I'd earned before, I went below a level where I could cover necessities like the Internet. I tightened my belt and I stopped entire online activities like Facebook or forums or blogging cold turkey. It was the only way I could cut back that actually worked. It would cost more if I went over my usage than if I'd paid that $30 more than my contract to get 10 gig rather than 5 gig. I limited it to personal chats with a very short list of close intimates and even stopped doing email for months because it was too depressing (and used up too much bandwidth with all the things I read in email.)

Next step - when the new service is installed I'll contact Verizon and see if there's a fee for early termination. Hopefully it's cheaper than just paying the bill for the last couple of months would be. I could be eating better in June. Yes, it's gotten that tight to where I had days of not eating - but my cat still has food and good food. My priorities are solid and his hairball formula comes in big bags for economy. I'm so glad he prefers dry food.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
I've been sitting on an ever-growing stack of science fiction and fantasy novels since I published Raven Dance in 2000. Every year I participate in NaNoWriMo and usually the 3 Day Novel contest too, either officially or just by spending Labor Day Weekend writing a new short novel.

I just keep writing them and stacking them up in my hard drive. Editing is a daunting task especially when all of them have the same problems that I need to overcome in order to produce good professional quality work. I decided to go indie some time back after watching the way the publishing industry changed and keeps changing.

90% of the delays are due to physical or financial hardship. I'm a disabled 58 year old transman who only worked full time for about a decade and never did get ahead enough to get past basic survival, let alone pay for needed medical care. I never got insurance because I was trans and I wasn't going to take that money out of necessities like rent and bills and food for self and significant other if it didn't cover my gender reassignment treatment. Disability, trans and aging all combined to a perfect storm and I was homeless for a long time, sub-marginal long before I was homeless, sub-marginal all through the 90s even if some of that was actually one of my most prosperous times in terms of physical comforts.

The other 10% is something uglier. Self acceptance, choice of living stealth or being out of the closet and wimping out on my GBLT themes and social science fiction themes. I've sweated over that all along.

If the right thing to do is stand up for my rights and link arms with anyone else who's gotten oppressed for any reason (which does make for a pretty HUGE majority), then I should write my brooks true to my view of life and just find my readership. Trust that it's out there. Trust that some people will read a blog entry about transgender issues and find out I do SFF and check it out because they are sick of wimpy princesses who don't act like real ones, sick of main characters always being straight-white-cisgender-male, sick of science fiction that doesn't question society and make you think. I definitely fall closer to Ursula K. LeGuin and Ray Bradbury and all than I do to the current crop of rocket men.

I don't even have anything against the quest of the rocket men.

I don't think it's pointless to reach for the stars. I think that's a lot better thing to do as a human endeavor than 'try to kill off lots of other people for their customs/religion/want their stuff' and it can solve other problems on Earth because good science is not a waste of effort.

It's just that's not my story. No matter how much some of it looks like fantasy fiction, it's actually social SF about culture and adapting to technology and interacting with people who aren't like you. It's what it is and I'm who I am. So maybe this post is like those moments heroes decide to do the dang fated thing anyway. It beats not doing it by a lot, because not doing it is stupid and doesn't solve anything.

I never could run. I had to learn to fight.

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robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
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