robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
I am disabled and live on SSI. I earned those benefits with years of working but I won't stop being disabled if I win the literary lottery and crawl up over the poverty line. I won't stop being disabled if I'm brutally frugal and save for something that costs more than $2,000 - there is a cap on my savings. Go over that and the balance starts coming out of my check.

Yet there are people whose business decisions cost thousands of lives and millions of livelihoods who, if prosecuted at all, pay a fine that's just the cost of doing business. They might get community service. There's a young man who got off for killing people on "affluenza" because his life style growing up taught him that crime didn't have consequences. Once again, it didn't have consequences. I guarantee that if I'd done that crime I'd be dying in jail, jails aren't equipped to handle my multiple medical conditions.

Back in the day, white collar criminals got jail. They got the nicest, cushiest jails, they had money and outside connections, it wasn't as bad as for other people. But they still had perks.

It never goes to where it hurts.

Here's a thought.

What about taking all their assets and income to compensate the victims and their families, then putting a cap on their assets and income? Set it at the poverty level like my SSI. Make them live by my means-tested rules. Let them find out what it's like when ends don't meet and you need to ask for help.

Sure, they have connections, old friends and relatives who'd help. They'd find out fast who the fair-weather friends are though. Even if they were taken care of at a level far beyond anything I've lived, they would still have to ask. That's a huge life lesson.

Everything over that cap would go into victim compensation and if there was environmental damage, environmental funds. The planet counts among the victims too as I see it.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday morning. Might do something to help rectify the circulation problems in the economy.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
I've come up with a good one for this year. It's even traditional, something properly negative and self-limiting, all about Giving Up A Bad Habit.

2015 Resolution: No Self Improvement!
That means no weight loss dieting, no eat-healthier plans, no self-help books or videos, no exercise programmes or gym memberships, no affirmations or positive thinking exercises, no Success Visualizations, no what is that thingy - wishy stuff, the sitting about wishing you had a lot of money thingy. I think it's Law of Attraction or something like that, if you just keep thinking about happy things nothing bad will ever happen and all your bills will get paid before they get to you sort of stuff. At any rate, none of that. No Self Improvement!

I'm sixty years old. If I don't like who I am, who the heck am I looking to please? Not some mass market self improvement industry, that's for sure. They make a fortune pandering to people's social insecurities and setting them up for disappointment. Giving up your various recreational enjoyments in favor of more virtuous ones that don't serve the same needs tends to come out as a net loss. You can diet like crazy but that's just going to teach your body to hoard calories because you're facing intermittent starvation. You can exercise grimly and push that to the point of sports injury without actually getting anything out of it. Lots of people buy gym memberships for a whole year and then quit before February - but not without paying for the whole year in advance. That's what these things are really about.

All this just to get to the point in February of the miserable annual self-flagellation of how you never succeed at any resolutions.

I have every confidence that come February, I'm not going to slip from this and suddenly start ordering self help books instead of pastel painting ones. I expect to spend more on new art supplies than either junk food or health supplements. Daily sketching is a good habit I plan to keep, but that's something to focus on a monthly basis rather than declare for all year - that's always Health and Weather Permitting.

I would like to get at least one of my novels edited and processed and made available online as an ebook this year. Currently thanks to finding the perfect cover artist in Jillian Lambert, (blog is the one I think I can get done before the end of 2015 is "Elder's Pride" formerly called "Sabertooth." It's the one about a pride of Smilodon fatalis in Los Angeles before any humans got to California, right around when the tar pits were still filling up with lots of animal bones. A cat lover's big cat book, a romp into prehistory with lots of very large felines interacting in a family. Very heartwarming and furry, with extra large teeth and fairly impressive claws. Not your usual mog, these cats ate elephants for a living.

Also on the editing agenda, I plan on continuing the edits to "Chazho" to fix point of view issues and get those first five books in the Piarra series ready to go before releasing any of them. So I really have two major editing projects for 2015 but will not list them as year-goals.

If either is done before 2015 ends, great, happy, wonderful, I lucked on time and effort and getting my life together. If not, I didn't set an artificial deadline to get it done by. I do my best work when I just do it at its own pace in the time and energy I have available. I seize the moment on good days and slob off on bad days but still often think about what I'll be doing once I'm up to it again.

Have been getting the daily sketching thing back in the past few days, you can see some tigers and other sketches posted at aka Rob's Daily Painting where I will probably do my own version of the sabercats too once I get going on those edits. They are as fun to draw as they are to write about.

Ari purrs and sheds Cat Hairs of Inspiration on you! Happy New Year! Quit kicking yourself and go have a good time, the annual "get drunk and don't drive home" holiday is what's up.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
My friend and editor, Nonny, just posted this on her DW and LJ... boosting signal to reach all of my friends too. Anyone who can help is greatly appreciated. I managed to squeeze out a little, glad this came before my money was gone.

(Nonny) Because of various circumstances, my poly-family (which include four disabled people, myself included, who have not been able to get on disability) are going to be short on rent for November. The one able-bodied member of the household gets paid the 15th of each month, and while we have the money to cover October rent and expenses, we are starting at a deficit because of how long his training took (about two months).

The main reason for the deficit is because my poly-family moved cross-country to be closer to us (myself and my now former partner), and have better job opportunities (and S, who can work, is definitely making a lot more than back east). However, they weren't able to find housing because nobody would rent to someone who was in training and had no income as of yet. The time spent in a residence hotel while trying to house-hunt, and then, to apartment-hunt, which turned out to be successful, depleted a significant portion of reserves. We've been managing to squeak by since but we are squeaking our last squeak.

Rent is $850. I know a lot of my flist doesn't have a lot of money themselves, so even when I have been in bad positions before, I haven't wanted to ask. My former partner won't have the money, and I wouldn't feel comfortable asking them anyway as we are in the process of separating. My parents also wouldn't be able to help because of their financial situation, and general disapproval of the situation. Their families wouldn't be able (or willing, also due to general disapproval) to help. I have tried to consider every option, and we have not been able to come up with one.

So, I am asking, when I have never asked before, for help. Any little bit that you can spare will be greatly appreciated, and I hate that I have to ask in the first place. Again, rent is $850, and my PayPal address is

Please signal boost if you wish.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Signal boost from

Emma, a trans woman I would describe as an adorable pink-haired geeky queer music nerd, best served with tea, is in desperate need of housing. She just lost her chance out of her abusive family's home. She needs a temporary home, 3-6mo, and while rent-free would be awesome, she can offer $250/mo rent. She is in Western Washington (Seattle-Olympia), and the clock is ticking. Due to our rental agreement, we can't have her past the end of March. If there are any folks in Western Washington who would have space for a lovely trans woman and her computer, please contact Signal boosts welcome and requested.

Please pass it on and/or if you can help in any way, go to the original (longer) entry, read and comment!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Usually, if I post online around this time of year, it's some version of my bitter acidic loathing for the Commercial Holiday Meant to Sell Cards and Humiliate Singles. Right in the cold yucky horrible part of year when life's at its ugliest, comes the day that Everyone Must Be Paired and You Are So Unlovable No One Wanted You.

Childhood starts that shaming with the packs of kid-friend cards. The insult cards are for the kid no one picks for the team. Needless to say, that was all I got, 3 or 4 of those from the kids whose parents made them get them for everyone. Insult cards and joke cards are also for boys who don't want to get mushy or seem girly. but they're nuanced and some are compliments as much as insults. It's situational and adults create the basis for children's culture.

I was at odds from day one in school with all the teachers and parents. I was ahead of the class and gender nonconforming, knew I was really a boy and didn't understand why my parents tried to make me a girl. First two years, all my friends were boys, developmentally normal. Girls' school I had no friends at all, any friendship got broken up on Too Close A Friendship, code for Latent Lesbianism in their eyes. I got angry about it but knew who was responsible.

Yet when I had a long 13 year gay relationship with another transman, we really enjoyed Valentines Day. Especially one day later on Cheap Chocolates Day, but sometimes we'd go out and stuff. We never did cards, neither of us were into cards. But we'd eat and maybe go out to a movie or the Art Institute, mush and go home and have hot partner sex with all the trimmings of long practice and knowing each others' tastes.

We were also Out and Proud on the day of the holiday itself, mushing and breaking the heteronormative assumptions. Or being happily coupled within the gay neighborhood, it depended on where we lived how that looked. Either way that aspect was fun. Valentines Day around Clark and Diversey in Chicago had its own feel that was pretty jolly.

Kitten pointed out to me that it's cool having a holiday dedicated to spending time with your partner getting romantic - for them it's a chance to step back from their very intense lives and remember why they got together. Chase kids and critters out of the way and have some couple time. I can see that. Thinking of it and every happy couple I've known, what grows up within real relationships are personal traditions that may or may not include any of the traditional trimmings. But if anyone in it likes the traditional candy, it's there only that time of year.

Made me think that's also a potential excuse for the shy to actually speak up to someone. Everything has its up side.

This year's Valentine's Day is different. It's about self acceptance and part of that is loving my cat, my dear hefty big fluffy 15 pound Support Cat. Ari is a wonderful cat. He doesn't even know it's a holiday but he'll appreciate the lap time, the snuggles and the kitty treats. I'll give him some love and ruminate on what I like in my life as it is.

Then this weekend take advantage of Cheap Chocolates, or even get out on the scooter to see for myself what's on sale and indulge. I never know what kind of expensive chocolates will turn up 1/3 to 3/4 price on Cheap Chocolates Day. There's those white and chocolate marbled seashell ones, the deep dark chocolate ones, the cream center ones in boxes that don't seem to show up any other time of year. Or cost too much if they do. Well worth it.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
2014 is the start of a 3 year plan for me to become self supporting before my SSI turns into Old Age version of Social Security. If I retire early, I will get a smaller check. Much better to be self supporting and just never retire. That's the long term goal.

In a comment on an artist's blog that I wrote about 4,000 words and deleted all but about 200, I worked out just exactly what it means to "Work toward self supporting in 2014."

I have a slight chance of success at it. My guesstimate at the moment is 10% to 20% that I will actually reach a point where I could draw a salary of a thousand a month and not change my lifestyle. Just quit SSI and take the limit off my personal savings.

What I really need to do in 2014 is work out my schedule and the rhythm of the year. November 2013 was a very bad time. I barely got in 50,000 words. Lots of sick days and two weeks of flu did me in. I will always have Too Many Sick Days. I always have. Net result of disabilities, day job as a cripple schedules itself.

December 2013, I didn't do much at all. I took a freaking vacation after the intensity of the most difficult Nanowrimo that I ever won. I'm serious. It was harder getting 50,000 words of Arts and Aspirations than it was to write 450,000 words of seven fantasy novels in a previous year. But I succeeded in my big goal - it is a better book that will take less editing.

I also signed up for The Sketchbook Project. I paid for it to be digitized and posted online. This is using my art to sell my book. I did it so that I could publicize my steampunk novel. I thought that I'd be self illustrating while writing, would have a lot of time to do 32 decent sketchbook pages with teasers.

Now I've got ten to fifteen days to complete the whole thing, with three pages penciled. Those need to be inked. It's not quite as bad as I thought - I thought I only had one page. But it still means doing more than one artwork a day till it's done. Getting back to a schedule more like when I lived on my art. Managing to work on it on days when I've got home care or medical appointments.

It's going to be possible but difficult like Nanowrimo was. It will only serve its intended purpose if I can do a good job on it. Penciling first is probably a good idea! It might let me lay out many more pages and it's not something I'm doing just to goof around. I paid good money for it as a publicity tool for the book's launch. I'll design the cover last, because I could do the cover very simple if it comes to that. An easy cover would be a portrait of the cat and the title in calligraphy.

So this year is starting off with a bang.

December will always be my vacation. A pro writer I knew a decade ago did that, took December off entirely as vacation because the holidays and her kids took up too much of her time. I don't do that kind of thing. I don't live with my kids and grandkids and when I did, they did most of the work. For me it's just that is the low end of the year when I'm exhausted physically and emotionally. I either get depressed by pain and fatigue or distract myself with holiday cheer and soppy old holiday movies. I did the lazy holiday cheer this year.

It was great!

In fact, it might have been the first real vacation I've had in my life. I don't count the miserable two week trip to San Francisco in the 1980s when I went with my ex, blew a lot of money saved up for it and bought a lot of tourist junk, ate out a lot, stayed in an expensive transient hotel and made myself miserable with homesickness. That trip was a bitter exercise in pressing my nose hungrily against the window of my life. Now I live here.

This time, for once, taking a month off left me feeling excited again about my writing and my art. I want to sketch. I want to play with colors. I want to get back to the book and read about those characters and keep going when I hit the point where I left off. Writing rough draft is a lot like reading the book before it exists. I turn the page and get the next sentence, paragraph, page and enjoy all the twists as surprises.

So why not combine rereading the book to catch up with myself with doing the Sketchbook Project? I'll ink what I have penciled, then start reading the book again. Stop and pencil when I see something that'd make a good picture. Doodle my way through the reread and then turn "Rereading" into "Drafting" when I run out of chapters already written.

Maybe it's not so daunting after all. :D

I want to be able to build up to 40 hours a week at productive work on my career. 2014 is the year of discovering my schedule, what gets done when. What works best which days of the week, which weeks of the month, which months in the year. I need to find just the right level of push between "pushing myself too hard and falling over" and "could actually be doing more if I made the effort to start." That's always tricky in both directions.

If I find out by December 2014 that I can't do 40 hours a week year round, fine. I'll readjust my income expectations to the reality, whether that's 30 hours or 20 hours or 10. It will probably be different in different months and some months I might go over 40 hours a week because some tasks work better by immersion. I mean average 40 hours a week for the next 11 months, not keep to 40 hours a week every week but December. Most of all, know the seasons and my climate. I've had two years here to know when I'm up to going out just for fun, when it's hard just making it to medical appointments, when I'm going to fall down on basic necessities of self care and when I've got time to relax.

So... resolution: CHART what I'm doing in 2014. I need to start logging my hours every day and week, what I do that's productive. I'm not going to count hours spent doing medical appointments or other necessities like supervising home care unless I did something productive during it. I've taken to using the hour of waiting for the van or after arriving early for sketching, which got me sketching even when I wasn't doing anything else. So that hour counts on an appointment day.

Two new treatments in 2014 might also improve my net function. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment for my PTSD may eliminate flashbacks and symptoms that trigger fibromyalgia flares. That is a nasty combination. Knocking down my PTSD may give me a lot of energy locked up in flashbacks. Once that's done, I'll look for a physical therapist with geriatric and/or pediatric experience.

When I finish that, I'll get a physical therapist for massage therapy, possible hippatherapy and water therapy. The sorts of physical therapy that really do reduce the damage and give me more energy walking out than I had walking in. Chiropracty always does that too. When I'm no longer living on the survival edge, paying out of pocket for treatments that really do help is worth it. I just need to have enough left after necessities to afford those treatments.

So... 2014 is starting the run. I'll start by doing the Sketchbook Project and see what comes of it. Hopefully a finish to Arts and Aspirations.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Barely, by the skin of my teeth! 50,546 words at 5am yesterday. Validated, got my Purple Bar and later yesterday afternoon, bathed and put on my 2013 Winner's T-shirt for the first time.

I still have a final chapter to write, but it's short and almost an epilogue. I'm happy with the book. Most of all I've succeeded in that high goal of "Write a Better Book." Sticking to First Person was hard at some points but the whole POV problem is solved. "Voice" largely solved itself by that too. Also it's much better documented scene by scene than most. I did not get sloppy!

All this done in the face of the nastiest November that I've had in a long time. Really bad, unusual bad weather throughout, constantly changing. Two weeks of Bronchitis threatening pneumonia but never quite getting there (Relief!) plus problems with home care. Every time I have a new home carer, the first few times are difficult because everything needs to be explained. It's pot luck whether they're compatible or not. I had several good ones come in and then immediately vanish, pulled off or were only there temporarily. I had more than the usual number of incompatible substitutes and new ones that I had to say, this won't work. So frustrating. After years of stable home care dealing with that stress in the middle of Nanowrimo was a hard time.

Last week was the worst. I threw my back on Tuesday keeping up with an energetic young man - found myself by circumstance running around on my feet and bending to pick things up exactly as much as he did for various reasons. Stressed to the max, that resulted in two lost days and then Thursday dealing with him again - where the stress continued but at least I managed not to get up and run around. It's going to take another week to sort out the everyday use things that got put away in the wrong place and thus out of sight and for practical purposes, lost.

My back is still whinging, but at 10pm on November 29th, I got up again and burned through the last 10,000 words. I was way behind at 40k or so, but managed to get the final count in a last sprint. This year's book was all done in Sprints and Rests. I wasn't sure I'd make it until I finished that last sprint.

I bought the Winner t-shirt, ordered it in October promising myself I wouldn't wear it till I hit 50k. Today I'm wearing it and I posted a photo on Facebook.

Facebook page

Robert in 2013 Winner T-Shirt
(Sorry the image broke, I don't know why)

Also at last, my beard is visible in a photo! I know it looks like I just stapled some armpit hair under my chin, but I love it. Even my mustache is visible despite its being exactly the hue of my tanned face. It's thickened enough to visibility - more so in person, pixelation blurs some of the texture. I'm very happy with it. Possibly my best photo ever.

Certainly my best, most hard-won and satisfying Nanowrimo yet!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Finished another scene, got some writing in today. Yesterday was a total wash, I did maybe eight words. Made the file basically and got in a sentence. But today I'm keeping my lead. One good day and I'll surge ahead even farther.

My Widgets!

My Month (days low or missed)

REGION standing
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)

Some widgets, just to see them in action!

My month in review. Days written or not. Let's see how this looks.

Wordcount widget

Now let's see how my Region is doing...

San Francisco is where it all began, surely other Overachievers are pushing this up!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Two chapters today and I've got two Virtual Days ahead. If I keep this pace I'll be crossing the 50k line on November 8th. Feeling very good. Found out the Muse is a younger one, a Muse of Modern Novels (in the 19th century), and she's very wild! Love her as a character. It's going well. I think I might have to pick on his sister next time to keep the balance though.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Colin got the first scene. Second scene is Colleen's journal, in which Empress Rosebud, her calico cat, turns her wrath against Men, both suitor and father, to creative energy. Nodding as if she understood, the cat purrs, calms her down and the girl sorts out a more positive course of action after getting her face washed.

Yes, cats can be that direct about sorting out your life sometimes. Empress Rosebud is a queen, so naturally she's very take-charge. I think she and Colleen have a bit in common. So does Colleen, who bragged that her rejected suitor expected a rabbit and got a cat!

I know that whatever else goes on, Empress Rosebud in her little wicker basket will be accompanying Colleen on most of her adventures. In and out of the basket. Likes to be brought along and does not stray. Ah, we will have Adventures. She thinks of the cat as her Muse, but has no idea what Colin just did magically.

Well begun! I might keep writing or go to bed, but got chapter done and will be heading on forward into this month with nearly one Virtual Day already in the bag. Pretty darn good for having a Rotten Chest Cold to start with!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Midnight Start, just like the other Good Years. The big differences to create a Better Book for "Steampunk Twins," which will get a better title are:

1) First person throughout to establish POV consistently.
2) Don't be careless as I've been in past years on pacing.
3) Document Better in cast list and synopses.

The great experiment is Scene Synopsis, not just chapter, for a more detailed Running Outline as I write it up. This should make it easier. I'm also shooting for shorter scenes instead of "at least a chapter, sometimes two or even three."

Get it down, move on fast, get it done, do it right and OMG it's flowing. It went so right. The Muse came on stage crackling with anger and lust, oh my, she is a proper Greek deity after all! Colin forgot she wasn't some pretty Victorian conceit! Now she is loose in the mortal world to do whatever she likes!


Sep. 10th, 2013 11:03 pm
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Been a while since I posted. Personal news. I changed therapists and ended the therapy relationship with the third of three good, helpful, effective therapists I've ever had in my life. The batting average per all therapists is about one in fifty so far, with local culture factors and the fact that it's a gender clinic raising the chance of another good one here in San Francisco. Many of the culture conflicts that made decent therapists bad ones for me have diminished or been eliminated.

No one in this clinic is ignorant about transgender. Most of them though, are focused on helping people through transition. I'm there beacuse it's the safe clinic to work through post-transition issues and the PTSD from a lifetime of historical horrors. The more political I get, the more I find out how many of my inner demons are outer demons and still there in the world, to varying degree by locality and culture and situation. I know a lot of transpeople had it worse than I did and had less resources to face it.

I know a lot of them are dead and I won't weigh my pain against anyone else's. I just know there are too many suicides and how close I came to being one in this life, how many times.

Julie is the second of three good therapists who let go of me because they stopped being therapists and worked on changing the system instead. There may be something about me or my situation that helps them come to the conclusion it's a good thing to do with their lives. Or in Roland's case, maybe he made too many waves and got bumped upstairs ala Peter Principle. I hope wherever he is that he is making the changes he hoped to. I know she is because I've got her email updates and I'm stunned at how big they are.

As of January, I'll be able to get phalloplasty covered by my state medical plan. The one surgery I just blow off and live without because, well, it costs too much and I have a whole long road to go before I'm up into minimum wage let alone working class let alone afford out of pocket surgeries for something that's not a matter of day to day survival. No, it's for quality of life things like oh, locker rooms. Risk of what would happen if I got busted at a protest.

I didn't go to Occupy because even with lots of other protestors swept in, I did not want to be the only man with a female organ in a men's jail. Not when rape culture, ha ha ha, is as thriving as it is in this decade. Civil disobedience is laudable, but I've always faced cruel and unusual punishment just as any transperson does. The choice of Shawshank Redemption or protection by solitary confinement is which torture's easier to face.

My former therapist was one of the activists who worked on making that phalloplasty decision happen. That is enormous. She's moving mountains.

I'm facing molehills that are mountains in relation to my physical abilities. I still don't have a case manager and need one, because fibromyalgia means I stop being articulate when I'm stressed. Add that to a real, subtle phenomenon: the person who's sick is not the one listened to. Important facts go unnoticed because it's the sick person saying it, not someone abled representing them. This is true in medical situations and also in bureaucracies.

I want out of the system. I can't just keep watching my income stay the same while the cost of living goes up every month, not just every year, by so much. I'm at subsistence level and right now it's stable. But anything can disrupt that fragile balance. The tobacco shop on the corner in walking distance closing might be the one thing that means I quit smoking or cut back dramatically and just to a pipe. Why? Because pipe tobacco's available in walking distance but the filters for rolling cigarettes are at the edge of my mobility limits. It was closed yesterday and it was closed on Monday when I went down on my routine to get the month's supplies.

I'd also need something to replace it. Seriously, something to manage stress that works that fast and matters that much emotionally. Not just physical action replacement, something that actually does, is a thing in my life that is not on the food-shelter level of survival. That tells me I am not yet so far down I will die of it. It matters symbolically. Tobacco is something that helps with the hunger and helps with focus, it does a lot of things for me as a drug, and it is also something I do for myself and reward myself with in small ways as needed. It is a self comforting mechanism and it is also the last grain of luxury in a life of subsistence want.

On the plus side, instead of the signs that say "I didn't survive HIV just to die oflung cancer" at the clinic, I could put up something like "I didn't put up with all the rest of that crud just to support big tobacco."

Quitting as political statement might be emotionally satisfying but I would need to replace it with something or things that serve all its functions, or I lose function and fall back and that pushes me too close to the cliff. It's too bad I can't get to know someone with an organic tobacco farm to trade quantity for quality and keep a very small amount of organic tobacco around as a treat. Go to the "Weekly" level instead of half pack.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
It's been a while since I wrote about Talent.

I still believe in my Talent Rant. There is no such thing as Talent. It comes with being human, fluency in my birth language, wanting to write at all. It's motivation.

I have many personal reasons why it was worth all the trouble of learning how to write well enough to finish and sell fiction. They're personal, some are probably common and others aren't. It matters to me. It's become part of my self-identity to think of myself as a Science Fiction Writer. Every now and then I step on a rake of self-recognition and understand something that went into that motivation.

Out of all the macho boy-things and man-things that I could settle on for my future, Science Fiction Writer did not take being able to run, throw or catch a ball, have quick reflexes or even be able to stay on my feet a long time in front of an easel. Being an artist was what other people wanted me to do. Painting is satisfying and I love doing it. I don't produce enough of it to live on and it didn't work as a day job for a writer.

They're similar in some ways, it almost worked to support my writing on my art. Would have worked at the time if I'd had the medication and mobility aids I do now, except that the city it worked in got devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the market changed and it is no longer a cheap place to live. It was never optimal because of climate and social issues. I didn't belong in New Orleans the way I do in San Francisco.

SFWA has recently blown up again in another sexism-racism scandal. This was with John Scalzi as President, someone whose blog I read and perspective I trust. If Scalzi couldn't shut down that level of racism-sexism-bigotry in the industry publication, why would I ever join SFWA? I wanted it, the SFWA card was one of my personal success milestones.

But when I was litle, I wanted to be a Boy Scout. They got to do the cool stuff, camping and canoeing and leather working instead of baking and stupid girly stuff. Girl Scouting was not fun and I didn't stick with it long. I also got in trouble all the time just for being myself because as a transboy, I reacted to everything like a boy. Turned out that Boy Scouts were the creepy right-wing religious and social indoctrinators while Girl Scouts admitted a little girl like me. Points to the Girl Scouts. I think they even do the camping and fun stuff now, that a lot of real girls and women objected to their limits and busted them.

The scandal did two things. One, I read N. K. Jemisin's speech, the one that two old white conservative columnists freaked out over, loved it. On the basis of her speech on racism, I ran over to Amazon and bought two of her books. Much to my delight, she wasn't just a good read. N. K. Jemisin's novels slammed up out of the 'good books' category up into "Irresistible Rereads, Favorite Authors To Read For Style" category along with Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, J. K. Rowling, Stephen King. Baum and a few others. She's gone past Stephen King, because there are King books I didn't like. Well done ones, I just didn't like their themes or characters. So far Jemisin's got me hooked on all levels.

I don't often find new authors I love that much, so that's a treasured experience.

The other is letting go of the SFWA milestone. I don't care. I thought that I was going to go indie with my novels but write and sell enough pro short stories to get my SFWA card. Other writers' associations do accept independent authors as pro, usually on a level of financial success comparable to a new-author pro contract. That's what makes sense to me. It's not which market you take your books to, it's whether once you do it gets successful enough to call it pro. If financial success is going to be a criterion at all, it should be measured by looking at the money earned, not whether you went through X traditional distributors or struck out on your own. Pro publishing has been losing its appeal for me for several years.

I write social SF. My fantasy novels are social SF. I use magic instead of space ships but the tropes of both genres come into it and I'm really looking at the cultures involved. Raven Dance and its universe are pure SF but have some fantasy creatures in it, urban fantasy ones. My vampires and werewolves washed up there, probably because in storyland they belong in cities. Occasionally I dip into horror tropes and turn those into SF by looking at them sideways, taking them as themselves and looking at them in a different context.

Most of my novels talk about monsters that aren't. That's what I was as a little kid - a little boy a lot like other little boys of the bookish, brainy sort. H. P. Lovecraft was a sickly child. Kids that stay in a lot because they're too sick to go out have the time and motivation to lose themselves in books and want to write them.

Before I got out into SF Fandom, I thought it would be an accepting, supportive group. Friendly to future wniters - someone joked that half of fandom wanted to publish a novel. Friendly to who I am and what I read and what I wanted in life. I didn't meet gender expectations and aside from a very small group of personal friends, got frozen out and shunned. I wasn't even capable of meeting gender expectations. I didn't understand them or credit them with any validity.

Now that I'm turning 59 in December, living in San Francisco, living on the edge of deep poverty even in the best place in the country for me to survive, things are different. SF is not a social haven or a supportive community. It's more in need of an overhaul. Yet when I was here before, the political GBLT community had no interest in SFF and looked down on me for being into it. Everything had to be now and topical-realism. Except that's not me either. I'm still that dreamer. I can't just protest. I tell stories.

I look for community and my communities are fragmented. I don't even get out much now. Today, for the first time, I'm going to a free seniors-and-disabled luncheon at the GBLT center. I have a housing clinic to attend this afternoon, it'll cost me $2 to go and $2 to return by Paratransit so I might as well go early and catch the free lunch. Meet people around my age, much closer to it than any other group, find out what they're like and see if I fit in.

Scared to death of this lunch.

I've been burned so many times in so many ways. If it's not one thing, it's another. Poverty and disability issues were a barrier in the pagan community even when they were accepting of my gender. Poverty and disability issues were a barrier in a lot of different situations. Not likely to apply in this one - that's something I'll have in common with others at this lunch along with age.

I'm not just a square peg in a round hole, I'm this weird shaped asymmetrical unique-shape that there isn't a hole anywhere that remotely fits. It always takes knocking out and shutting down some big part of who I am to fit in smoothly. I get a lot of emotional support about my art because I enjoy painting beauty and encourage other artists. If I don't mention politics, I'm reasonably safe in art groups online. Offline there may be problems.

Offline there are often logistic difficulties I can't surmount. Most of all, that's not Who I Am the way being a Science Fiction Writer is. Painting and drawing are things I do for myself because I enjoy them. They're one of my best ways to recuperate from stress and to get a lot of social support with very little time and effort. It doesn't take a lot to go through a bunch of pictures I like and type a few thoughtful targeted compliments. I critique by positive comments on what I do like about someone else's work. It's easier than picking on beginner errors or trying to look for what could be improved, especially in finished works.

They know what's wrong with it by and large, what they need is support that the cool stuff is happening. Sometimes just describing it accurately in neutral and pleasant terms is enough to give both accurate feedback and lift the creator's spirits. There's my personal small protest against the culture of bullying, the culture of vicious personal criticism that's endemic to this country. I don't know what it'd be like to live in a more cohesive, supportive country.

I do the same thing in writers' groups. Some people prefer harsh critique. I can't set myself on a pedestal to know what's wrong with someone else's writing, especially when I can't tell if something is experimental. Did they break a rule on purpose to get an effect? Or did they do that out of ignorance of the rule? I write intuitively by feel and don't even have the 'rules' memorized. But I know how rare support is and it doesn't hurt to give it.

I turn the criticism thing inside out because I got too many people who attacked me on every nit picking topic they could think of. If they took me up head-on about my identity, I'd stand them down. So instead they'd turn it into a thousand small attacks, often about things I couldn't control anyway. My posture or my body odor or my cussing when pushed to the wall or being cussed at, double standards always apply in that sort of bullying.

I also figured it out decades ago why I got discouraged so much from writing and encouraged in art. My pictures could be interpreted without any political or social content. If I draw a leaf, it's still just a leaf. If I write a story, it has a slant. I was incarcerated in a Catholic school while I disagreed with every point of dogma. All the English teachers picked on theme and slant and graded for it at the same time they picked on grammar and spelling. I couldn't tell the difference and the criticism sometimes got witty and vicious.

I was writing the wrong genre and the wrong type of story with the wrong moral. I wasn't writing for the market and nothing would have convinced me to write to that market. Just as today nothing would convince me to write to the market of people who disagree violently with everything I believe is right and true. It's at best deceptive and self destructive, at worst it encourages my enemies and strengthens their grip on society. No reason for me to do that. Least of all money, there are cleaner ways to earn a dollar.

SFWA doesn't mean what it used to for me. I'm still a Science Fiction Writer though. That's part of who I am. SFWA just got dethroned as an authority defining what that is. I wrote a science fiction novel - Raven Dance is one. It's in print, my name's on it. Whether I'm a good Science Fiction Writer or not, I definitely am one and intend to go on doing that. When I get to where I earn a living on it, that's a big real milestone. One that may mean more economic security than I've ever had in my life.

If my books stay in print and keep earning when I'm too sick to do more, then I've got something that keeps going when I can't. Any one of them is a ticket in the Literary Lottery. My chance that a book might break out to turn into a big success improves the better I write and the more books are out there for readers to discover. It wasn't my first one, big deal. Lotteries don't pay off that often - but I can play again and again. Also some past winners get found years after they first went into print, so I can't count anything that isn't a breakout as a failure.

What I need to do is just keep going, edit the novels I have finished and make them available. That's the path. If the only job I ever wanted is the only one I'm capable of doing, so be it. That's better than just giving up. Just giving up means dying, there's nothing better I can do with my life. At any point I considered giving up on my writing, I was also feeling suicidal.

So I'll keep doing it and the heck with authorities of any kind. My readers like it and that's enough for me.

And the good news is that I discovered N. K. Jemisin, whose novels are wonderful. Her style is inspiring too, reading her books gets my writing itch going. I have to do things like that. She's got an original perspective and she's carried the entire genre farther in my direction than I've ever seen. So I've got a new imaginary friend to help coach me on writing. If I ever meet her in person I'll be awed until I get to know her and find out if we like each other. Right now I don't want to, because imaginary friends are important to keeping sane.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
The one I often dreamed of doing before the technology existed. Beans is raising money for top surgery, a transgender man who didn't get a lucky tumor is doing this with the help of donors across the internet.

I've had so many friends and even people I didn't know put in money to bring me back online, now I'm paying it forward with a couple of links to good projects, one artistic and one personal. If you don't have the cash, pass it on! I don't have money but I'm grateful for my access and I feel for this man.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default) - I clicked on this link and then clicked on the link on this page to find out what Throne of the Depths is!

Oo yeah. Sea monsters, Super-science and Sex? Adult material in a Jules Verne style adventure? Count me in. This looks like it's going to be fun. Check out the link and try to help the launch. I think it's awesome. Cool trailer too, lots of teaser ideas and beautiful images.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
I love, love, love the Asus! It's so fast it's scary. Its backlit keyboard looks like something off the console of a spaceship, very science-fictionish. One of me moments of wonder, realizing I'm living in the future now. This machine is sleek.

And so powerful. I'e got the new-computer high of watching everything I'm used to run like greased lightning and seeing it do things that always choked no matter what I was on run like they were always supposed to. Youtube videos embedded in Facebook run without slowing anything. Radio Rivendell is playing in background, which is giving me a serious writing jones.

Oh yes, this is going to be a thrill and I may not wait till November. I may finally be integrating writing and art in the same day's habits. I may try for it as such, say hello to both every day at least with some backstory work or edit a few paragraphs and at least a doodle sketch. Well, this month's goal is to draw at least once a week and write seriously at least once a week. That is to say, EDIT, put in some good hours editing Rites of Chavateykar, which needs it badly. It also seriously needs a retro-outline beacuse of the number of new scenes and point of view changes involved.

So that migth be this week's task, outline the thing. I need to get organized and create sub-tasks so I don't get intimidated at the scale of the entire work. Also I really could do another chapter, that wouldn't hurt at all. It's going to be fun!

I'm home. I'm back online where I belong and life is so good again! Today's dinner was perfect too, Swedish meatballs with carrots in one veggie side and organic green beans in the other. I hate green beans. I used to hate green beans. These tasted like they got picked from the yard and then cooked at home, nothing like the yucky canned green beans I loathed in a zillion cafeterias. I'm getting addicted to the Meals that Heal vegetables because they're so good, donated by local organic farmers and cooked by someone who's an incredible chef. Whoever's doing the cooking for this program deserves some awards.
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Checked the tracking number and my new Asus refurb laptop is in Texas. It's scheduled to be here tomorrow and right on time. It's not even that big a package, it's under 7 pounds. Even with packaging. I am so happy it's that lightweight. The case is aluminum, something that was a pleasant surprise I discovered reading more details about it after Nonny put in the order.

Discovered this Mac does not have the hardware to run Diablo 2, so there are no games on the Mac. I didn't download Gimp to it because I knew the Asus was coming and that I'd probably have to try to figure out which flavor of antique Gimp was the right generation for a computer from 2004. This machine is almost as old as my cat and just as healthy, which is awesome. It has MS Office for Mac 2004, which has Word, which means that for the first time since I left Arkansas, I have MS Word again.

What this means is that my Mac is not just the backup machine. It's the No Distractions Editing Machine. I can shove all of my writing backups into it even though the HD is pretty small because they're writing files. I've got them all on a USB key drive that I think has 8 gb of space on it. I couldn't back up my photos on the USB key when I started using it, so I pulled them off to be sure of having space for writing stuff. Probably not a good idea to back up images or videos or music to this machine.

Way back in 2000, I didn't have a laptop. I had two desktops, both of them hand me down freebies. One was really old about ten or so, and a friend had loaded it with Linux, the other one much newer. They were side to side on a giant metal desk. My very young cat Ari, then a kitten, used to jump up onto the windowsill to swat both mice with his paws or occasionally his tail, opening new browser and application windows. He'd just gotten too large to type easily, his paws too big to strike just one key at a time. So he discovered mousing and we had fun.

When the Mac arrived on Saturday, now 13 year old big hairy cat Ari got up on my lap with keen excitement sniffing at it and standing on his hind legs. He rubbed his face on it again and again, especially the right front corner. I wondered if this machine was dipped in catnip or he just remembered his cyberkitten youth, but he's very happy about it. Turns out that the previous owner's cats always face-marked the right front corner, so he was just commenting on the kitty message board. He likes them!

It worked out well separating different tasks to different computers. It didn't wear out the Linbox any faster using it next to the Windows PC and oddly enough, it outlived several Windows machines and lasted till I went through too many moves and gave it to a geek friend who used it as his work PC because he liked the Linux environment. It was still working when I last saw it. When the backup machine is also useful in its own way sitting next to the main one that rules. I feel so safe! Thank you, a big thank you to everyone who helped bring me back online!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Nonny's fundraiser went so big that she was able to snag a ginormous incredible sweet little Asus on sale $300 off - with an i7 processor, 750gig hard drive, 8 gig ram - it is super incredible compared to the ones it replaced. It makes the one I used to play Diablo 3 on look like junk and it wasn't that bad for running D3 or videos. Plus a year's extended warranty and a 7 port USB hub to go on the Mac because the backup Mac has only 2 USB ports. I can either charge my iPhone or put my USB key drive on, not both at the same time or add webcam or anything.

It's coming FAST too! It'll probably be here Wednesday! WOW!

I am going to be setting them up in tandem like I did when I had the Linux desktop and a PC at the same time (that was on a really huge desk). Both are laptops and the Asus is a 14" one so it's not super wide. They might fit next to each other on the little black table. Or I'll find another place for the printer and use the other folding table. That would let me work on writing or graphics and be online at the same time easily. This ALWAYS is a good thing if I have two working machines. I write much more and better if I'm hanging out online while I do. Same thing art, except for art it'd be going online on one and stare at reference photo on the other. Whichever one has the nicer screen.

Which might be the Mac, because Macs are legend for graphics.

I am overjoyed and thrilled! THANK YOU! to cattraine for the Mac and everybody for the Asus! This is incredible! From bottom of pits without hope, to being kitted up with the best I've ever had. PURRRRR thank you!

Ari thanks you and purrs loud at you too, he knows my lap is a happier place now. He's been getting cuddly lately. Also rowdy and playing a lot with his mice and a towel and chasing his tail on the bed. Our bed is his trampoline!
robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)
Yay! This morning I talked to Kitten on the phone, she texted me with a few hours free to game in chat. So I booted up the Mac and warned her about the cursor jitters problem. We brainstormed it while I booted and tried different suggestions.

Then she said "You could put a piece of cardboard or something over the touchpad."

BINGO! That was it! I went back into System Preferences and Mouse/Touchpad and checked something I remembered seeing. Yes, right with the slide for speeds of cursor and double-clicking, I found an option with a checkbox: "Disable Touchpad when Mouse is Present."

I checked that option, it wasn't checked. I plugged in the mouse again. I opened chat and typed... a short line... another short line, again and again. Now I can type like normal. The cursor stays where I put it. The jitters were my hands and thumbs brushing the touchpad and sometimes resting on the part where it left or right clicks. Very sleek touchpad but when I'm typing, it's in a bad place for how I rest my hands on the front of a laptop.

So now I'm back for real! I am so happy with the Mac that I'm probably going to do what I did when I had both a Linux desktop anda PC laptop - open both at the same time and use both for different applications. Depends on the size of the one Nonny's ordering but I might be able to fit two of them side by side on the folding TV table if I don't have USB stuff sticking out of the left side of the right side one. Mac wants to be on the left because its two USB ports are on the left.

I will also now have that happy safety net against virus problems. If I get a virus, I'll still be able to go online to get help in saving the PC. Apples are safer from viruses. For about 20 years I've wanted to have both an Apple and a PC side by side to protect the integrity of my writing backups. Now with the size of these hard drives, they'll protect my photos and art images too.

I also went back to WetCanvas and opened the Weekend Drawing Event tab. I have this week's WDE references out and might sketch them today. It's Sunday. I can relax and enjoy myself and hang out online, will try to snap a photo of it if I do paint or plug in the printer-scanner again so that I can use the scanner. I had it unplugged because I wasn't painting and thus wasn't scanning, but it took power and I was getting power outages on the power line that the computer plugged into. The Mac has to go into that power line so I might want to try putting the printer scanner across the room to go into the other one. It's wireless. It can wait, so I'll probably do that later and just use my iPhone for now.

Let's see... cool things to do that I put off and now CAN do... maybe pull my photos off the iPhone so I can actually take new ones. I have good kitty pics and photos of San Francisco from my first year that I want to save, so I need to do that if I'm going to clear it out. That'd rock. I need to look at the hard drive and see where photos go or how to route them to a good folder. Make a folder for them somewhere and figure out how to get them into it.

With only two USB ports, I do need to get a USB hub. I know that might not be that expensive though. It might be worth making an expedition on a good day to get one from a store where they'd be cheap rather than pay shipping to buy one online, if I find one that's affordable. I will have to check my budget and decide - and till then just swap out the key drive for the iPhone charger making sure I do have enough charger time the phone doesn't run down.

It should be happy compatible, they're both Apple things. :D


robertsloan2: Ari sweet (Default)

March 2016



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