Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Plum and Cinnamon, a new blend from The Tea Centre. It’s a bit more cinnamon than plum for my liking, but makes a lovely afternoon tea.( Follow Up ) ( Awards News ) ( Community and Conventions ) ( On Equity ) ( For Writers ) ( For Readers )
And lastly, Christina at Books and Tea has a review of two tea-flavoured candies. Yum.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
It feels really Peak 2017 that it's difficult to write about anything in my own life without prefacing it with the above... Things are pretty terrible, and I feel vaguely guilty for having good news?
But - I have good news:
Skuld's Swedish residency permit was approved!!!
What this means is: she is allowed to move to Sweden! And live there permanently! (And then after three years she can apply for citizenship!!) And it only took... a year and two months and a couple of weeks?
More good news:
I found an airline that will fly our cats out of Britain in the cabin rather than the hold!! The reason I missed it last time I did research was that they have no direct flights (boo), but it's a reasonably fast 4 hours airport to airport and it means we won't have to entrust the kitties to strangers and have them fly in the hold (I know people who've had pets "lost" from the hold so THANK GOODNESS) and they can come with us and we can get them all moved within a day!
And this means that we actually have a timeline. This is actually happening. We're getting out of Brexit land and moving to Sweden with our cats and starting exciting new jobs - all before the year is out.
( I think it'll go like this )
I know you have fought, again and again, for the ACA. Thank you. Please continue to fight.
Allow me to tell you about my personal situation. I am fifty-five, female, and employed. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with asthma. These days, I’m mostly fine. I have a rescue inhaler, but rarely need it. But that diagnosis is a pre-existing condition. That means that, if the Graham-Cassidy bill goes through, I could be denied coverage. When I was in my thirties, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. I was treated, and am currently just fine; I no longer even need drugs to manage this condition. It is even possible that the diagnosis was not entirely correct. However, that diagnosis is in my medical chart, and therefore a pre-existing condition. Therefore, I could be denied coverage. When I was thirty-five, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I have a CPAP machine which I use nightly. It won’t last forever. I need to replace the mask at least once every six months. This is a pre-existing condition, and I could be denied coverage. Any one of these conditions could kill me. Any one of these conditions could mean that I can be denied coverage. And not just denied coverage for this condition, but denied coverage at all. This has happened to me before. When I lost my job, no insurance company would offer me any coverage at all, because of the bi-polar diagnosis. I was fortunate enough to live in Minnesota, which offered Minnesota Care. Not every state has such programs.
The holy grail, according to the Republicans, for health coverage is “choice.” As if I, or most people, have ever had any real choice. I get my insurance through my employer, who negotiates with an insurance company, and those negotiations don’t include me or my interests. I may be offered a “choice” of tiers. When my employer and the company they have contracted with parts ways, no amount of pleading will allow me to keep my doctor. I will be subjected to transitioning care to whoever it is that my employer has contracted with this year. This has happened to me over and over and over again throughout my working life. The claim that the ACA has reduced choice is laughable. Most of us have had no choice, anyway. What it provided, what it guaranteed, was access. I might prefer to see the doctor I have been seeing, sure, but I _need_ to be able to see a doctor. I have preferences, yes, but access is much more important.
Health insurance isn’t like car insurance. I can choose to pay a minimum amount to cover my old beater, because quite honestly, if it’s in an accident, there’s not much point in fixing it. This is not true of my body. I can’t just write off my aging body as not worth fixing. I can’t decide to buy a new, better body. Still, we are required to buy car insurance, if not for ourselves, for the people we might hurt if we run into them. And in this sense, there is a similarity between health insurance and car insurance. Health insurance means that I can afford to get vaccinated, and treated for serious, contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. And that protects everyone I come in contact with, including those who are too young, or in too fragile health to get vaccinations. This is important, and necessary, for all of us. I really don’t want to die of bacterial pneumonia, and neither do you. I don’t want to watch a generation of children be crippled by polio, or die of scarlet fever. And yet, when you strip away the ability to get health care from the poor, this becomes a very real danger.
Please continue to fight. Please feel free to share any of the details of this letter with your colleagues or anyone else in this fight for my life.
Sigh. My senators are Franken and Klobuchar. Maybe they can wave their numbers in someone else's face.
I really don't want to die. Why do the Republicans want to kill me?
Well into the second week of working on a new short story, and enjoying the writing process more than I have for a long time.
It's taken me eighteen months on sabbatical to get over the deeply ingrained habit of checking every few minutes to see how many words I've written, of feeling anxious that it's taking so long to get through a particular scene, of worrying that my time and effort has been wasted if I end up having to cut some or all of what I've written and start over the next day. Not to mention the voice of my Inner Editor nagging, "That scene is boring! That description is sappy! That conversation doesn't advance the plot! Nobody's going to like this. Give up and write something else."
It's not that I don't care anymore about making progress, or writing the best story I can. I'm just not measuring my work by the same rigid, merciless standards that used to suck away all the pleasure of writing for me. I don't have an outline for this story, just a vague notion of where I want it to end up and a few scattered ideas about how to get there -- and that's fine. I don't know who the audience for this story will be, or where I'm going to publish it once it's finished -- and that's fine, too. I'm writing it because I want to, not for the money or the market or the fear of losing my career if I don't. And that's the best feeling of all.
But it's taken me all this time to get there, because I drove myself so hard for so long, running on fear and guilt and sheer bloodyminded determination, that I couldn't remember how to write any other way.
Creative burnout is a real thing, ladies and gentlemen. Don't let it happen to you.
"I can't believe you didn't think it was worth telling me that we're living inside a game," Jedao was saying.
Cheris sighed. "I didn't tell you," she said, "because you wouldn't be able to shut up about it, and it's hard being a good playtest character when someone keeps ranting." ( cut for Ninefox spoilers, I guess? )
Back in 2008, Gandhian pilgrimage that ended at Calais.
And his present (surely it is the same guy) simple life agenda has crossed my horizon heretofore.
My dearios, I give you I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.
O, lucky old you, a healthy bloke with sufficient resources to undertake this project and pontificate about it. You are not just lucky to be 'born without any serious long-term health issues' - this is due to various factors including maternal nutrition and antenatal care, vaccination against common childhood diseases (even if he didn't get these, and I bet he did, he would have benefitted from herd immunity), i.e. the benefits of modern medicine and sanitation.
Also, I have no time whatsoever for anyone who dismisses other people's experiences of pain: there is a man who, we must suppose, never sat an exam while doubled over with period pain, or suffered a migraine. Not at all rare conditions. Your body is not 'always aiming for balance and health'.
And we observe that he has had a vasectomy... because one of my questions (among the many stimulated by the thought of all the technological advances that have made women's lives so much less arduous, which I remarked on when his bogosity first impinged upon my aghast gaze), wot abaht contraception?
Perhaps we might introduce him to the notion that being regularly flogged with a large codfish is a cure for pretentious woowoo?
(And do we think that his simple austere life is 'more work for other people', like the process that gets his handwritten ms - written on tree bark in berry juice, we wonder? - from his simple cabin in the woods to the Guardian website?)
It had sold out and then got discontinued (naturally) … and so, even though I love how yummy it smells, I use it very sparingly so I can have it longer.
It’ll be a sad candle day when I finally use up the Italy Espresso candle, but at least I have the Coffee one and Cocoa one to take it’s place now.
Originally posted at Pilgrims on the Way. If you wish to comment, please do so there.
File under: Map, Photo of the Day
<cut text=">/</cut>Ugh, I suck at getting up SO MUCH. In my defence, I did go to bed at a reasonable enough time! I just... couldn't sleep. Fucking bodies and their sleep schedules and aaaargh. :| Azy suggested that I change my alarm noise, so I've done that. Will see how that works next week! (Have only changed it on the two days I Have To Get Up Now, No Seriously Right Now, so hopefully that will help!)</cut> Anyway, I was still super tired, so once it was obvious I wasn't going to make it to class, I had breakfast and then took a nap on the floor. I proceeded to dream that I was napping on the floor and hallucinating vividly. Like. I was aware that I was hallucinating in the dream, but I know I was dreaming and not ACTUALLY hallucinating because of stuff dream-me did. But seriously, brain?? SERIOUSLY?? Brains are a fucking bunch of bullshit, I swear. (And of course when I woke up I was having trouble telling if I was actually awake or still dreaming, because <em>fucking of course</em> how could I not after a dream like that and AAAARGH.) On the plus side, had an unusually snuggly purrbox nap on me, so that was pretty nice. <3
While we were waiting for the movie to start, we were talking about fannish things as per usual, and about how I sometimes classify a pairing as "I don't not ship it" and in thinking about it more over the past couple of days, I came up with my own personal taxonomy of shipping:
- OTP OF OTPS (i.e., the all-time greats, ironclad, no matter what)
- I ship it!
- I don't not ship it
- I could/might be convinced to ship it
- I don't care (i.e., if it shows up in a story that otherwise has things going for it, I'll keep reading, but I don't seek it out)
- meh, I don't ship it / it bores me so I don't read it
- I dislike it but whatever, other people can do what they like, I can scroll past
- NOTP (i.e., it's blocked so I don't have to sully my eyes with it)
Generally, when I talk about a pairing as as "I don't not ship it," I mean that they are people who are most definitely weird about each other, which is one of my personal flags for shipping, but in this particular classification, I don't care if they are having sex with each other or not (or with other people, depending), as long as they are somehow together – partners, brothers, whatever. I think (I hope!) it's implicit that I understand why people would ship them*, but I just...don't take that particular read on the relationship under most circumstances.
*as opposed to pairings where I don't.
And if they are having sex, I personally prefer it not to be framed romantically? Or, rather, in most cases, in terms of canon (rather than AU) settings, I don't find the usual shippy romantic tropes particularly interesting with these sorts of pairings. I mean, sure, 'there's only one bed' or fake dating are always on the table, but I don't feel like even those tropes should follow the regular narrative path. The clearest examples we came up with were Sam/Dean and Mal/Zoe, and I mean, I don't see either of those pairings as people who go on dates or have traditionally madcap rom com hijinks (which isn't to say that that couldn't be done with great results, but I don't think it could be played straight, as it were [I mean, Sam/Dean is incest, so it has its own challenges]). And she threw in Middleman/Wendy (which I do ship more traditionally), and I brought up Obi-Wan/Anakin, which is what I'm having complicated feelings about lately, and so it seems like a useful category to have. idk.
Lotfi Zadeh: Fuzzy Wuzzy wuz a logic.
Len Wein: beloved comics guy
Jake LaMotta: lasted remarkably long, for a boxer
Lillian Ross: wrote a fascinating peek into that great big wonderful dysfunctional family known as
The New Yorker. (She did a deliberate Good Grief, It’s Daddy)
Stanislav Petrov: saved the world
I should have started with Frances Ha. Mistress America is not a bad movie, but it’s also not a particularly successful one. It’s a character drama where the characters are a little too stylized to seem quite real, but not stylized enough for that stylization to create its own pocket reality where you just go along with it.
In short, it’s stylized enough to feel awkward. It’s too awkward even for Gerwig, who makes awkwardness into an art form in Frances Ha. At times her character Brooke, a 30-year-old aspiring New Yorker on the cusp of failure, seems almost like a parody of Frances - or at least a parody of something. “I know I'm funny. I know everything about myself. That's why I can't do therapy,” Brooke explains, encapsulating her own lack of self-awareness just a little too neatly
On the other hand, there are also times when Gerwig hits the emotional beats just right. “You can’t really know what it is to want things until you’re at least thirty,” Brooke lectures her soon-to-be stepsister Tracy, a lonely college freshman. “And then with each passing year, it gets bigger… because the want is more, and the possibility is less.”
Still relentlessly self-absorbed, but it also hits on something painful and true about Brooke’s desperation. She doesn’t so much lack self-awareness as push it away, because looking her life squarely in the face would mean admitting that she’s drowning.
Gerwig looms over the movie, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to her co-star Lola Kirke, who plays Tracy - young and vulnerable, yet also a would-be puppetmaster, sharply observant but at the same time incredibly emotionally clueless. The night after she first meets Brooke, Tracy writes a character study that is a poisonously vicious homage.
And it really is both those things at once. She admires Brooke tremendously - she’s so exuberant and outgoing and fun! Tracy’s own platonic manic pixie dream girl, plucking her out of her lonely inhibited life! - but also recognizes that Brooke’s basically a failure, not a viable model to follow. There’s an attraction and a repulsion and of course when Brooke reads it - of course she gets her hands on it; no one in movies can ever hide anything properly - all she sees is that viciousness.
There’s a good movie in here. Tracy and Brooke’s friendship is fascinating, both before and after it crashes and burns. Unfortunately it’s just a little too clever for its own good, and obscures its merits.