2. Some people at work got me a birthday cake today, which was totally unexpected and a nice surprise. :)
3. Look at these Molly paws!
What I read
Finished A Banquet of Consequences, and, okay, family that makes the Starkadders look like the Waltons at the centre of the plot. But at least Havers is somewhat on the way to rehabilitation and not being transferred, and while I am not convinced by Lynley's new affair (I consider his new squeeze is entirely prudent to maintain high boundaries), I don't think I ever wanted to have at him with a codfish at any point in the narrative.
Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013), found in a local charity shop. Raced through it though on reflection not sure that it wouldn't be better read in doses.
Gave up on the romance about marrying an earl.
On the go
Max Gladstone, Two Serpents Rise (2013) - still not quite feeling it for the Craft Sequence - it's well-done, it's not doing anything I dislike, and yet somehow I feel unabsorbed.
Also picked up in a local charity shop, Jeremy Reed, The Dilly: A Secret History of Piccadilly Rent Boys (2014), which is really, really, annoying. It could be a much better book if the author wasn't so in love with his gosh-wow prose and his vision of the sexual outlaw, not to mention, checking his bloody facts - there were two chronological bloopers in the first 20 pages, a Tory politician described as a Labour MP, a confusion between the Stones' Hyde Park concert and Altamont. Also, how can anyone possibly tell if 'most' late Victorian homosexuals were being blackmailed? The book comes from a publisher I had previously considered reputable, but does not seem to have been copy-edited (this might have done something about the Did Not Do His Research factor and the annoying repetition of favoured phrases) or proof-read, and given that some passages appear to have been written while stoned and there are sentences which are not and places where you think, that is so not the word you want there, this would have improved one's reading experience considerably. There's some really interesting material there but unfortunately the generally cavalier attitude to checkable facts makes me a bit sceptical about his ethnography of gay London, or rather, the gay West End, from Wilde to the era of AIDS. I'm also wondering whether there is any unacknowledged debt to e.g. work by Matt Cook and Matt Houlbrook.
And, finally released this week as ebook (there were hard copies at Wiscon but I was in travelling mode), Liz Bourke, Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy (2017).
But on the plus side, I spent about three hours this morning helping a friend with packing to move house. They identified a number of items to go, some of which they weren't sure about until I was able to say 'have you considered giving them to x'. What I *should* have done was go prepared with a container to cart away things, but as it was, didn't have any way to get things out of their house, and all the boxes they had on hand ended up full. Plan is to offer to come past Friday afternoon (as I have to go past their place to collect youngest from school) with bags, so that I can cart things away.
Pick any story I've written, or, in the case of my longer, chaptered works, any chapter from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.
My fic can be found here or here
The three ‘W’s are what are you reading now, what have you recently finished reading, and what are you going to read next, and you can find this week’s post here if you want to check out other posts.
Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty, and Shattered Minds, by Laura Lam. I’ve been looking forward to both for a while, and I’m enjoying them — though with Six Wakes I am kind of going “omg, give me the answer already!” because I’m impatient, and afraid that someone I like might have caused the mayhem. I’ll probably finish one or the other today; the plan is to finish Six Wakes, but Shattered Minds is technically a review copy, so I should finish that soon too.
I read Walking on Knives, by Maya Chhabra, yesterday. It’s a retelling of ‘The Little Mermaid’, with a lesbian couple at the end. I wish I liked it, but I actually found it a bit confusing that no one had names, and why/when people were even in love. Also, lots of consent issues, ugh.
I’ve also just finished Newt’s Emerald, by Garth Nix, which is adorable. It’s basically Georgette Heyer but with magic, which is obviously right up my street. (Though the writing is a bit more modern and Garth Nix-ish, of course.)
What will you read next?
I’m thinking I’ll finally work on books I’ve started but not finished. Maybe I’ll get back to my reread of The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams. Otherwise I might read Thomas E. Sniegoski’s The Demonists, since I got approved for the sequel on Netgalley and haven’t actually read the first book yet! Should be fun, either way.
What’s everyone else been reading? I’m now back in Belgium, my computer’s not in for repairs, and I’m not way behind with work/studying, so hopefully I’m going to get to comment more on people’s posts!
Dear Abby: I recently met a 28-year-old father of three I~Rm interested in. He seems wonderful. He's a hard worker, takes care of his responsibilities and is an amazing father to his children. They~Rre all still very little, but they're great kids. The only thing that~Rs been on my mind lately is he has a lot of baggage. Those kids are from three different women. He gets along with all of them very well, to the point that they sometimes do stuff together with the children. They go out to places, or sometimes he invites them over to his place to swim in the pool. I understand that he has to maintain a healthy relationship with his exes for the sake of the children, but I never thought it would be this 'healthy.' I have never experienced something like this. I appreciate him being up front about everything, but I can't stop thinking about it. Am I overreacting?
Dear Three's Company: I don't think so. While I admire the man's devotion to his children -- not to mention his skilled diplomatic ability -- it does appear that he has a problem making a lasting commitment to a woman. Unless you would seriously consider joining this 'harem,' I urge you to religiously practice contraception. If you would like children in the future, it would be better to approach it with someone who isn't as marriage-phobic as this young man appears to be.
Find Calm: Practice Rest and Regulation
New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
- "An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples" by Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald
Video on co-regulation
Bonnie Badenoch, psychotherapist and professor of interpersonal neurobiology, warmly explains co-regulation and polyvagal theory in her video How to Feel Safe in Your Relationship. Thanks to Donna Norfolk for the link.
Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.
If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
When you see millions of the mouthless dead
edit: I have just run into the section of WW1 poems about Pierrot. Bizarre.
A year ago in Carnival,
Author: Hakoishi Toru
Publisher: Young Jump
Genre: Humor, Sports
Status in Japan: 1 volume, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Anima Regia
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates
Summary: Hino is obsessed with playing sports in high school, but not because he loves sports (he doesn't), or is any good at them (he's really not). He's doing it because that's the way to get a girlfriend (or so he thinks). After getting kicked out of half his school's sports clubs, he's still convinced he just hasn't found the sport he's truly destined for. When he (literally) runs into Noborito Ayako, manager of the rubgy club, it's love at first sight (for him), but all she's looking for is another warm body for the struggling rugby club. Could this be the chance he's been waiting for?
Chapter Summary: Hino is now convinced he's a rugby prodigy, but not everyone agrees.
Chapter 4: Hino's True Ability
Can't remember the last time I saw a movie, in a theater or out of it. This one was sparsely attended, and therefore fragrance-free enough for me, yay.
This movie is worth seeing. It is much more up close and personal than the summary implies. The Native Americans are saying, "Look at me! Look at us! We are PEOPLE. These atrocities happened to me, to my family. See us!" The white guy is saying "privilegeprivilegeprivilege oh wait maybe I'll see you a little bit."
I'm so glad the Native American folks got to tell their stories and show their lives and landscapes. I hate that the story centers on the white guy's narrative. He's the one who changes as the Native Americans instruct him.
The cinematography and secondary part acting are bare-bones. For me, that emphasized that these are real people, this really happened, this is the landscape where it happened.
( Summary )
Okay so this is going to be a little complex, but I hope that you could maybe provide some insight on the situation.
I met a guy online (a long-distance situation) and we’ve been in contact almost daily for a year and a half now. We’ve gotten to know each other and it turns out that we’re on the same wavelength and get along so well. In the past I had asked him if he had a girlfriend because I didn’t want to get in the middle of anything (we have “intimate” moments), and he said no and that he used to but that he wasn’t happy. But just recently, he messaged me that he had finally broken up with his girlfriend! So my questions are actually:
1. Initially I felt hurt that he lied, but approaching the situation calmly, it’s difficult not to comfort him, I mean we ARE friends and we do feel a little more than what friendship feels like. When he told me I politely thanked him for telling me and asked if he wanted to talk about it.
When he opened up a little about it, he said that he thought that it would make him feel better, but after doing it, he felt sad. But he also kept telling me that it had been a long time coming, and that he had been wanting to do it for so long. I’ve never had happy breakups even when I was the one to break it, so I told him that sadness for a while is normal, and that if he had wanted to do it for so long then, there’s a fundamental basis for it that’s obviously important. So now, how do I actually comfort him?
2. I’m confused about the situation. At times he tells me that I make him smile, that he wants to be with me, and I believe because if I didn’t, then we would’ve stopped talking ages ago. The connection and attraction that we have are both pretty strong, and I actually want him and want it to work, and I have plans to see him in a few months. I don’t know what to make of it – him telling me that he’s now free, how he initially feels about it, and so on. So Cap’n, can you please help me make sense of it? Thank you Cap’n!
You asked for my take on “a complex situation” (from your email subject line).
Whatever this guy is to you and however you feel about each other, he lied to you about having a girlfriend all this time. And it’s not like he never mentioned it and you never asked. You asked him directly because you were not comfortable doing “intimate stuff” if he was involved with someone else, and he said no. And then you talked almost every day for a year and a half. He didn’t “forget” that he had a girlfriend or “forget” to mention her.
It’s also highly possible/probable that he lied to his girlfriend about having an “intimate” friend who he had attraction and “almost daily” contact with. Like, maybe they had some kind of agreement or open relationship and everything was cool, but since he’s describing himself as now being “free,” I think it was…not cool?
You’re asking how to comfort him and he seems to want you to comfort him. Okay? Who’s comforting you about the confusingness of being lied to all this time? What is he doing to make you feel better about being hurt?
For a while in my life I was the queen of the long-distance sextual relationship. I’m really good at longing and storytelling and someday, and because the Internet is magic I kept finding people who were also good at those things and together we’d spin some tales and build up all this anticipation and then we’d finally meet in person and…
…one by one…
- …”I’m single. Well, actually I’m divorced. ‘Separated’ is more like it. Well, we will be separated soon, just, not yet. It’s just not the right time.” (These people are definitely still married to each other).
- …Told me he was 45, was really 55.
- …Was at least 15 years older than any photo he’d posted on line or showed me.
- …He was not all that into me once we met in person.
- …I was not all that into him once we met in person.
- …Good on the phone, selfish and annoying in bed.
- …Bad with consent and careless about safe sex.
- …Or, sexually AWESOME, bad with everything else.
- …I was but one of the sympathetic and imaginative ladies in his harem of long-distance ladies.
- …Or, I was now “his only friend” and/or “only reason to live.”
- …In one case the “harem of ladies” AND “you’re my only real friend” situation were both true? (Ugh.)
- “She’s just my roommate, I swear.” (She was his girlfriend.)(Who was working her ass off to support him through a crisis.)
- …Showed up to my city for a visit with no money and expected to move in with me…the first time we met. (NOPE!)
- “Hey come to my son’s birthday party I want you to finally meet my friends and my mom and my son…bring your video camera and take some home movies for me…oh, also, I will treat you like the hired videographer and my mom will treat you like the caterer/party planner because my real actual girlfriend who I’ve never mentioned is also here and nobody knows about you.” (TRUE STORY, Y’ALL)(I ACTUALLY PUT ON A CLEAN SHIRT AND WENT TO THIS DUMPSTER FIRE OF A “PARTY” AND TOOK VIDEO AND PUT SNACKS ON PLATTERS AND SMILED)
Me, Aged 24-33 = A MESS. A mess with a big phone bill who sent novels worth of sexy and attentive instant messages and emails to verbal, imaginative, interesting men in far-off cities.
These Gentlemen of Mystery I got tangled up with often had a lot to recommend them at the beginning. We had great chemistry, they made me feel important and sexy in a way I hadn’t before, they allowed me to spin out a fantasy life over time and distance and distract me from the mundane day-to-day, there was an inherent drama in traveling to meet them or them traveling to meet me, I got a lot of excitement out of each ping saying I had a new email or text message or IM and those methods of communication were fertile ground for a charismatic and wordy person like myself. Long distance romance spins out in words and you can collect those words and re-read them and go live inside the story you’re making and have actual evidence of the other person’s thoughts and feelings and fill in the spaces in those lovely, lovely blanks. Plus, I got to say “I have a boyfriend” without having to deal with the reality of an actual boyfriend up in my space and business all the time. I liked the version of myself I could create with these men.I liked being In Love. I liked practicing being In Love…from a safe distance.
Long distance relationships are real relationships, relationships that start online and grow over time are real relationships, and they can work – My Facebook wall is covered with too many cute pictures of the offspring that resulted from cross-country flights and leaps of faith and love to ever say that they can’t.
That said, if you’re planning a long-term future with someone, proximity eventually matters. Seeing a person’s living space, seeing how your intended love interacts with the people around them, seeing them in their milieu and day-to-day life, having the evidence of your own eyes and ears and other senses to guide you about whether this person is good for you, whether they are compatible with you, whether the picture they presented to you is congruent to the picture you observe, learning how you are together when it’s not just the adrenaline rush of a quick few days or some texts between classes or those late night phone calls…it’s important. It’s part of this and you can’t skip past it to happily ever after. You have to reckon with boring real everyday life.
Besides meeting online from a distance, the men I met during that period of my life all had two very important things in common:
1) They all *lied to me* about something really important early on in the relationship.
2) Being long-distance made the lie harder to spot. This meant that it took longer for the truth to come out, during which time I became very invested in the relationship and it was much harder to leave than if I had known what was up right away.
In all cases, I found out about the lie and I chose to believe the explanations and justifications they threw at me, usually some version of “I didn’t want to hurt you,” “I knew you would hate me when you found out and things were going so well between us that I was afraid to ruin it,” or “I lied initially when we first met because I didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with you, and then it was never a good time to undo the damage.”
In 100% of these cases, I would choose to “be the bigger person,” look past the red flags, demonstrate how empathetic and chill and forgiving I could be, and, 100% of the time, a situation that was about *a lie they told me* would turn into *me reassuring and “comforting” them.* For how they hadn’t meant to hurt me.
The Mediocre Dude With 1,000 Faces: “I understand if you hate me now” or “You probably hate me now.”
Past Me: “I could never hate you!”
Current Me: “Pssssttt hey you don’t have to hate him to know that you deserve better than this. You could say ‘I don’t hate you but I don’t think this is going to work out, sorry, bye‘ and hang up the phone now.”
Mediocre Max (Mike/Milton/Marvin/Martin/Merle/Matt/
Past Me: “It’s okay! I forgive you! I know you love me and we can make it work.” (i.e. My emotional labor can solve anything!)
Current Me: “He said a lot of words but none of them were actually an apology. Huh. That’s interesting. What if you told him, ‘I don’t want to make you feel worse right now, but I also don’t want to keep talking about this. I wish you all good things, but I just can’t be with someone who doesn’t tell me the truth. Let’s end this now before we both get more entangled and hurt?‘”
My dear Letter Writer, forgive me, probably 50% of this blog is me trying to yell through time to my past self – “Run away! He’s not worth it! You deserve better!” Let’s bring it back to you.
Your dude isn’t necessarily like the dudes I met and your experiences won’t necessarily be just like mine. People fuck up and make mistakes, not every relationship ends or begins cleanly, and maybe this friend you have is genuinely sorry for lying to you about his romantic situation for so long while you were doing whatever intimate & sexy stuff you had going on. You want this to happen and I want to be optimistic for you and give everyone the benefit of the doubt here. So what I have are questions:
- Has he told you he’s sorry?
- Has he used words like “I’m sorry I lied to you about that, I shouldn’t have done that, that wasn’t okay, I understand why you’d be upset” without trying to self-justify or make you feel sorry for him or comfort him?
- Have you said (or do you feel like you’re able to say): “Hey, sorry you’re hurting, but can we talk for a second about how I had no idea you had this girlfriend until just now? That’s messed up and it doesn’t make me feel good.“
- Does he try to “rules-lawyer” his way out of a difficult conversation, like, “We weren’t technically together when that happened, so it doesn’t really count as a lie”?
- Is there a vibe where you’re like “Ok technically he has a point, so why do I still feel so crappy?“
- Which is more important – you feeling good, safe, able to trust – or him winning the point?
- What does he do for you?
- What has he done for you lately?
- Do you trust him to tell you the truth from now on?
- What would happen if you took a couple of weeks off from talking with him so much?
- Another version of the above question: What’s That Thing in your current, day-to-day life that you’re ignoring or avoiding or putting off while you dream about Someday, When You’re Together?
- Could you work a little more on That Thing and a little less on This Sexy And Complicated Dude at least for the time being?
You don’t have to dump him as a sacrifice to my younger self, but you also don’t have to comfort him through any of this. You don’t have to overlook the hurt you’re feeling in the name of being a good friend right now. If he’s good for you, and a good friend to you, maybe let him do the work of showing you that goodness before you invest more of yourself in his comfort?
- Mutants and Masterminds
- Wraith: The Oblivion
- Aeon limited edition
- Star Wars Core Rulebook (dhampyresa, do you want this? I'm happy to send it to you--it's Wizards of the Coast's d20 system)
- Mage: The Ascension (we may already have this BUT I DON'T CARE)
- Changeling Storyteller's Guide (now I just have to find the core book for Changeling)
- Wraith Player's Guide
- Battlefleet Gothic 2002 Annual (I looooooooove the aesthetic of the Battlefleet Gothic miniatures and am sorry I only own one, which is still unassembled in its blister pack)
- Earthdawn (I used to own this before my stepmother threw it out)
- Ars Magica (ditto)
- and a stray issue of Playboy July 1995 because it was sitting there lonely and I am easily amused
PLEASE, VAN, CONTINUE ACQUIRING AND SELLING USED RPGs. I WILL COME BUY THEM!!!
This is like Christmas.
Fun stuff: I budget crunched and determined I did have enough to start buying Makeup Geek shadow pans on this past paycheck, which spreads them out over more paychecks which is very nice. And then I seem to have successfully made will rolls against buying more makeup brushes I really don't need, self, I don't care how stressed you are.
Although since I started this post the day has gotten increasingly faily in small but irritating ways until the UPS software I literally need to do my job blew up and now I'm just stress eating eclairs and want to buy all the makeup until I stop being too rage-y to write. HATE.
I did not so much figure out something about Long Road last night as figure out that I am not too clever to not have to do the thing the way, and so some of that should be easier when I get back to it. I also went ahead and decided that since I haven't been looking ahead at any of the stuff I already wrote for this portion of Malachy I might as well delete it all. Which I did except the last scene because I looked ahead and decided okay, that was the girls and Keith, that seems in character for the conclusion, that can stay. Everything else can go, so now I have a better idea of what I've written and how much I have yet to write and hopefully since I'm not cutting and pasting and measuring anymore, this will go a lot faster. Or it would have today if the day hadn't been full of ducks nibbling me to death.
Since then I have made a point of reading books on game design when I can find them, and the occasional article on the web. While I have released a couple of small interactive fiction games (IFs) and the narrative game Winterstrike (Failbetter Games), I don't really consider myself a game designer. It's more in the nature of something I do on the side because I find it illuminating to consider alternate ways to approaching narrative; I think primarily as a writer of static fiction. And for the purposes of the hexarchate, it's research because I decided that one of the factions (the Shuos) abuses game design techniques in their pedagogy, and one of the characters (Jedao) is a gamer.
The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, ed. Mike Selinker, is a collection of essays by various designers. I was originally going to read the book through and do a report on the book overall, but I liked the essays enough to do individual reports on some of them. ( cut for length )
Thank you to the person who donated this book!
(He had an LJ aged 12? Precocious or what?)