Saturday, September 29, 2012

A step forward: same-sex couples are 'family' for immigration purposes

My immigration story was difficult, stressful, and expensive. Which is the understated English way of saying, Nightmarish, terrifying, and financially crippling. Kelley and I went through five years of hell, literally not knowing where in the world we would live from month to month. The experience marked me deeply. I didn't stop having bad dreams until recently. I can't tell you how much I want others in my situation to be free of that.

The current administration has been taking tiny steps forward for a couple of years. First of all they relegated deportation of same-sex partners to 'low priority'. (And isn't it sad that this was a step forward...) Then they announced that unofficially same-sex partners would be treated as family. But yesterday they took a big stride: Janet Napolitano told Nancy Pelosi she has provided written guidelines to field officers "that the interpretation of the phrase 'family relationships' includes long-term, same-sex partners." (Read more about it in The Advocate.)

I'm delighted. I'll be even happier when DOMA is removed from the statute books, when same-sex marriage obtains at the federal level, and none of us have to go through this shit anymore.

Yes, I'll talk more about this next week. For now: yay! It's a lovely way to begin my birthday tomorrow.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mist then kitty bliss

For most of Thursday, our tiny micro-climate was draped in mist. On the sound, foghorns boomed. It was wonderfully melancholic. A true presentiment of autumn.

The neighbour's cat came and hunched down on the deck railing. He scored some fish skin--which he accepted as his due--but then wouldn't leave. He was out there for hours as the foghorns hooted and the trees stood utterly motionless. Apparently the rest of the city was basking in delicious sunshine. But not us. The mist thickened. Then around 2 pm the mist thinned and the sun broke through:
The cat stayed long enough to soak up some rays, then left for the next stop on his moocher's round. Life as we know it resumed.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Portrait in progress

I think I've mentioned before that I was contacted late last year by artist Riva Lehrer who wanted to do my portrait for a series she's creating, Mirror Shards.

Animal imagery is at the base of countless metaphors and similes in human language. They are, in fact, among the oldest elements of any language. This project, Mirror Shards, is an exploration of the role that animal symbols, metaphors and similes play in how we learn to become empathetic.

Empathy begins in the ability to imagine what it’s like to be someone or something else. The earliest myths, fables and religious tales tell stories of talking animals, people who could talk to animals, or human/animal hybrids. In many of these stories, the separation between human and animal is blurred or provisional.

The Mirror Shards series delves into the needs and history of animal metaphors by clothing people in animal costumes. A costume allows for the merger with another body and mind. Each animal is one that has a strong presence as a metaphor, in English or in other languages. There will be about 10 portraits when the cycle is complete.
Here's one picture from it:
Jessica/Hyena, Acrylic and paper on wood, Riva Lehrer, 2011
This is a portrait of artist and animal rescue worker Jessica Johnson. As I’ve gotten to know Jessica I’ve been struck by her relationship to femininity.  On one hand, she’s a straight girl with no gender dysphoria.

She’s not transgender or gay. But I’ve come to see just how ironically she views the tropes of femininity. She approaches all things girlish with amused suspicion and skepticism. None of this is obvious on the surface, but Jessica inside and Jessica outside are two very different beasts.

For this reason, choosing the Hyena as her mirror was a perfect choice. Hyenas are complex and paradoxical creatures. What people think of them, and what they are in reality, is often quite different. Hyenas are assumed to be canine due to their appearance and behavior, but are actually much closer to felines. Their reputation is as cowardly scavengers, yet most species hunt and kill all most all of their prey. It is extremely difficult to tell the male Hyena from the female, as external genitalia is almost identical. The female Hyena has the largest proportional clitoris in the animal kingdom, closely resembling the male penis.
Riva and I had talked back and forth via email for a couple of years (I admire her work). But now we talked for over an hour on the phone. I told her that as far as I know I don't think of myself as an animal. She kept talking, making me think. She pushed me just a bit, asked me to imagine what animal I might be. Eventually I said I could possibly see myself as an Arctic fox. She said, no, she didn't think that was quite me--how about a big cat of some kind. By this time I was attached the notion of snow and ice, and thought that a snow leopard might be kind of cool. (Perhaps because it was only a month or so after doing the BBC Radio 4 thing, Catwomen of the Moon.)

So then she asked me to get Kelley to take some quick phone snaps of me doing cat-like things. I did a series of things like this:
A month later, Riva came to Seattle and we spent an entire afternoon talking about and shooting iPhone pix (an older model, with crap cam) of me in various poses with some closeups, like this:
She asked--delicately--if I minded my crutches being in the picture. I said no, but that I hadn't the faintest idea how they could be incorporated with cat-like things. So we talked about that, a lot--crutches as arm extensions, as life extensions, as big claws... Riva went back to her hotel and the next day came back and we did it all again. This time it was gruelling: posing is work, especially the kind of thing that looks like a snap-shot of an animal caught in mid-(twisting) leap. Especially when holding heavy canes and then crutches. But the conversation was extremely interesting. We talked about empathy and characterisation, about reader and writer experience and communication--how we talk, sometimes, across a gulf of centuries. I said that one of the things I love that I'm constantly trying to get across to readers in my work--that I try to feel, every day--is flow. A living, moving, pour-through-it-or-around-it-or-over it flow. Every book I've ever written is full of flowing water, streaming cloud, and rippling tree canopy. I love movement--it's one of the reasons I like martial arts so much. It's all about continuous, unstoppable flow: like blood, like breath.

Then Riva went back to Chicago. She sent me this concept sketch.

The crutches, as you can see, would extend beyond the drawing's frame. The leopard skin would be a costume, tied on but still showing the essential me--and laid on a separate piece of paper, to add dimension. On top of that Riva would put snow, on individual pins, adding further texture.

We agreed that we liked the notion of the dimension and texture, but I thought the crutches were kind of wrong and the rocky background didn't give the right feel. Too static. How about a frozen waterfall? I said. Oooh, said Riva. And a week or so later sent me this:

Yes, I said. Do it. Last week she sent me this:

After I got over the shock of sporting stripy underwear (I have nothing like that in my closet, trust me) I really liked it. But the longer I pondered it more I felt sure it wasn't entirely right. My face looked kind of...spread out (so did the rest of me, but, hey, I knew the costume would cover most of that so I wasn't too bothered). Here's a close-up:

Riva decided it was a lens distortion issue, so she employed her trusty eraser and fixed it. I think this is a much truer representation:

Here's me (the unaltered, somewhat wide me) with a rough outline of the costume taped on:

And now we're beginning to get there. Part of the fur will be ruffled by wind and so project farther than the rest of the costume (which will be less transparent than it appears here**)--which will also be conveyed by pins.

The whole thing will be 32 x 44--pretty damn big. Riva promises it will be done at the end of October. I can't wait to see it. I won't own it (I think it might be a bit odd to have something this size on my own wall), I might never even see it face to face if it gets snatched up fast, but I'm hoping there will be HD video of it so I can get a really, really good look at the texture and 3-D effect. I think it's going to be an incredible piece of art and I feel privileged to be part of it.

* Yes, a crutch-related pun
** The partial transparency, though, is the reason for the stripy underwear. Otherwise, apparently, it would look muddy and blobby. (I'm guessing that's a technical term...)
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet two towering figures of feminist sf, Ursula K. Le Guin and Vonda N. McIntyre

photo by Eileen Gunn
Ursula Le Guin gave me my very first blurb, for Ammonite. She didn't know me from Eve, but I marched up to her at a reading in Atlanta, and said that thing all writers dread: "I've just written my first novel. Will you give give me a blurb?" She ventured that her rule was to read only first novels by new women writers. I said that I qualified. She agree that if that was so she would  read the manuscript. It was. She did. She liked it. She blurbed it very generously.* She also told me that  the Irish names were too much and way too difficult to pronounce. She was right, of course. She often is.

We've had drinks and dinner with Ursula many times since--very often with her great good friend, Vonda McIntyre (who also generously blurbed Ammonite, but that's a whole other story). Both writers are sharp, smart, and funny. Both are passionately committed to a cause dear to my heart: the visibility of women's writing. Ursula, Vonda, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., Octavia E. Butler: these are the women who made it possible for writers like me to exist. So I'm thrilled to announce that Ursula is coming to Seattle in October. You can meet her and Vonda as they hold a conversation for a small audience of their friends and readers in a lovely private venue.
They're doing this (again, generously) because they believe in Clarion West, the fabbest non-profit f/sf writers' workshop on the planet--which Vonda co-founded.

Here's how it works: you pay $50 and in return you get half an hour of cocktail chat with fellow audience members, and the stars, accompanied by delicious--I mean it, really good--hors d'oeuvres, and wine or beer or soft drinks**. This is followed by an hour of wicked, honest and unmissable conversation as Vonda interviews Ursula. And then you get to ask questions. Think about that: you get to talk face to face with these embodiments, pioneers, pillars and exemplars of feminist science fiction.***
It will be a great evening. I've been to this venue before: thoroughly accessible, intimate, and comfortable. But not only will you have a fabulous time, you will be helping Clarion West. This event is the kickoff for the beginning of a year-long celebration of the workshop's 30th continuous year of existence. Every single cent of your $50 will benefit this workshop and help it to be around another thirty years.
Here's the official blurb:
Join Ursula K. Le Guin and her interviewer Vonda N. McIntyre on Saturday evening, October 13, as they help us kick off our upcoming 30th Anniversary Year. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. we'll celebrate Clarion West's past record of excellence and reflect on our future growth at the Uptown Hideaway, 819 5th Ave N., in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.
Attendance is limited to 100 people. Tickets are $50 each. All proceeds benefit Clarion West. Register here.
Kelley and I will be there, of course, as supporters of Clarion West (Kelley is the current Board Chair), as friends of Ursula and Vonda, and as grateful fans of the women who blazed the trails that others can now follow. Come join us.

* "A knock-out first novel, with strong likeable characters, a compelling story, and a very interesting take on gender." If that doesn't match the quote on your copy of the book, it might be because the current edition of the book sports a second blurb, taken from Ursula's comments as a juror for the 1993 Tiptree Award. So I'm doubly lucky.
** The food and drinks are donated by generous board members, and they're definitely a cut above the fare usual at this sort of thing. I had a throughly fabulous time at the George R.R. Martin event.
*** You think I'm overstating the case? I'm not. Go read their work. Go do some research on the ways they've supported the community for the last forty years. You'll see it doesn't go nearly far enough.
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Comment moderation

Blogger's spam protection seems to have failed lately, so I'm reluctantly moving to comment moderation. This is a hassle for everyone. Sorry. Blame the knob-heads of the world.

As soon as I see any sign of this spam flood abating, I'll remove moderation.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Effective book trailers, plus free volcano

Volcano first. I found this video today, via Historical Fiction Daily. As a PSA it's pretty effective. I'm changing my mind about maybe going to stay at the base of Mt. Rainier for a couple of days...

Another of their videos got me thinking: a rare, (reasonably) effective book trailer. Yes, it starts with the standard 'eerie' music, which I find instantly off-putting, but I like the author's (relatively) conversational description, and the professional narration from the novel (at least I assume that's what it is).

I'd love to hear what you think of this, and what you might do differently (if you're a writer), or, from a reader's perspective, would like to see authors do differently. Specifically:

  • What elements of a book trailer give you a favourable impression of a book and/or author?
  • What motivates you to actually consider buying the book?
Feel free to include links to effective book trailers. Corollary question: how do you reach the decision to buy a book? These days I tend to download a sample and test drive a few thousand words (longer excerpts are more effective in this way for me) before putting down actual money. This is why I rarely indulge in digital pre-orders: I can't sample the text. So, hint to publishers: make ebook excerpts available during the pre-order period.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Haircut and word count

So I got tired of feeling shaggy and cut all my hair off:

Yep, this is how I'm spending my time. That and rewriting Hild:
Oh, and playing the ukulele. But sadly I've neglected to record anything lately. I'll fix that, oh, Really Soon Now. Uh-huh. Maybe. Depending on whether I get a chill in the neck and expire in my rewriting garrett. Better hope the sun stays out...
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sassella: a snapping-eyed piece


The Griffith-Eskridge household is pleased to announce a fantastic new wine discovery: Conti Sertoli Salis Sassella.

I'd never heard of Sassella before, but it's a Nebbiolo--the same grape as some of our other favourites (Barbaresco, Barolo, Gattinara). Deliriously good. The one we drank was eight years old, and it was practically perfect. A fantastic colour, that garnet-turning-to-brick at the edges, clear as glass, scented like figs and prunes and sunlit rocky ground.

If you think of Barolo as a haughty but urbane Diego De La Vega (Anthony Hopkins) teaching Zorro how to use a sword (and knife and fork) and Sassella as the flashing-eyed Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones) in demure mode but brimming with devilry, you'll get a sense of its taste: wicked, luscious, deceptively light and most dangerous to play with. Also, y'know, irresistible. The kind of wine to give anyone a foolish grin.

And, okay, most of you who really like wine probably have been drinking it for years. So smile indulgently at my enthusiasm and get misty-eyed with nostalgia for a time when things this good were new to you, just DON'T SPOIL MY DELIGHT.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Richard III skeleton found?

Richard III was the last English monarch to die on the battlefield (Bosworth Field, 1485). Two competing stories suggest that he was subsequently either thrown in the River Soar, or buried in the priory of Greyfriars Church. Wherever his body ended up, his reputation went to the dogs: the victorious Tudors vilified the last Yorkist king as a nephew-murdering hunchback.

Now archaeologist from the University of Leicester think they might have found his body:

You can read all about it at

I have nothing against Richard (hey, I'm from Yorkshire, I'm a fan of the white rose) but, damn, I wish someone would find Hild.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Man Booker Prize 2012 Shortlist

The Man Booker Prize 2012 shortlist was announced while I was still asleep. In the running for this year's juicy ₤50,000 prize are:

I've only read one, Mantel's Bring up the Bodies, which I enjoyed. (It's a sequel to Wolf Hall--which of course won the prize in 2009. Another novel about Thomas Cromwell.)

The thing I like is that there are three women and three men. And although four are British, one is Malaysian and one Indian. Also, Tan Twan Eng is a first-dan aikido player, which makes me feel kindly disposed towards his book, which is published by a small press, as is Alison Moore's. (Small independent presses are, in my opinion, a Good Thing.)

Another interesting factoid, of the books I know something about, all are written by a man from the viewpoint of a woman, or by a woman from a man's perspective. Make of that what you will.

According to the Man Booker website, "The winner of the 2012 prize will be announced at a dinner at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday 16 October, in a ceremony covered by the BBC. Each of the six shortlisted writers is awarded £2,500 and a specially commissioned beautifully handbound edition of his/her book." I'd like one of those.
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cat on Sunday

I was up early this morning. Not as early as the cat, who had appointed himself guardian of the demesne, using the vantage point of the corner of the roof overlooking the back deck and ravine:
I give away my position in the kitchen:
At which point he magically appears overhanging the kitchen door yelling: Feed me! I've been on guard all morning!
And, being well-trained by previous cats, I obey and produce a tiny platter of ground beef. To which he responds, What the fuck is that?
And gives me a wounded look (not included) and leaves, abandoning the offering. No doubt as I'm typing this some crow is taking advantage.

I feel spurned. Sniff.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Slanting shadow and burning sun

It's been hot here in Seattle--unusually so for this time of year. Ninety degrees after Labor Day...

It makes the days feel like a gift, and slightly unreal: the sun is burning hot, yes, but the shadows have the slant of early fall, and spiders are beginning to spin their webs.

Perhaps it doesn't help that I'm about to dive deep into an editorial revision of Hild, work I love but that effectively removes me from the twenty-first century. I love wandering about in the seventh-century: the colours, the smells (yeah, I mean smell not scent), the noise, the wind and waves and woods... When other people try to talk to me I smile gently and nod but I've honestly no clue what they're talking about, and after a while they go away.

Which is my way of saying I might not be around a lot in the next couple of days but that I'll be happy, and working, and I hope that where/whenever you are delights you too.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite

Yesterday was a busy one for publishing news. It would burst my brain to tell you all of it in detail, so I'll stick to the briefest outline, with a brief look at one service followed by a more in-depth focus on one device.

Amazon made a series of announcements yesterday about media-consuming hardware and services that will, yet again, change the way many of us read. (If you want all the details, watch the video embedded at the end of this post. Or read articles here and here.)

What I want to take a brief look at is one of the services announced: Kindle Serials. This is a book sent to your device in installments, as it's released, automatically. The cool part is that you only pay once, upfront. (Current introductory price $1.99.) And then the installments just show up on your device, added seamlessly to what you have. So only have to read, with no thinking beyond that initial purchase decision.

I think this might be a game-changer--though I suspect it could take a while to catch on, not unlike digital downloads of audio books.

But what I really want to focus on is one of the new devices: the Kindle Paperwhite. I want one. It costs $119 and ships on October 1. It's called Paperwhite because a) the whites are whiter and the blacks are blackers and b) it is front lit. You can read it in the dark, but without glare, because the light is beamed down onto the text, not up at your eyes. In other words, you see the text the way you would see it in a paper book in bright sunlight. And no glare. Oh, also that light is supremely adjustable, so you can read it at night when your sweetie is asleep. And--and this is really fab--you can get eight weeks of battery life with that light on all the time.

Below are a few screenshots from the video presentation. With the Paperwhite you can not only resize the font, you can choose what it looks like:

Here's a nice drop-cap, in Palatino.

Using the X-Ray feature, you can call up a schematic of the various characters in the book, showing when they appear:

Then you can go deeper into one of those characters:

You can look at the author bio, which, thrillingly, lists their bibliography. Each book is just one click--sixty seconds--away:

Speaking as a writer, this is going to rock my world: when a reader enjoys, say, The Blue Place, she can move seamlessly to Stay (and, hopefully, Always). This will make for happier readers and slightly more healthy royalty cheques for writers. The size of these cheques will be interesting, though, because yesterday a judge (just as Bezos was about to begin the presentation) approved the e-book price-fixing settlement proposed by the Department of Justice and three of the five Big Six U.S. publishers being sued for collusion and price-fixing. Two other Big Six publishers are going to court next June. One isn't involved at all. All my novels are published by Big Six publishers: Random House (Stay, Ammonite, Slow River), HarperCollins (The Blue Place), Penguin (Always), and Macmillan (Hild). But those publishers are all in slightly different place with the lawsuit. Different pricing rules will apply to my various novels. So I await price changes with interest.

As a bonus, here's a screenshot of recent Kindle best-sellers. One of these authors is a Sterling Editing client, so that was a rush:

And here's Bezos's presentation:

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

You like?

From: Pia

You like?

Yes. I'm guessing that's a tenor ukulele, a wee bit bigger than mine--though something of the same tone (if, y'know, I could actually play it). Thanks for that.

I will get back to practicing and improving my meagre skills.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In which I play the ukulele

slinging on the old uke to show it to Kelley's folks
I've had my ukulele exactly one week. I've just recorded my first attempt at a song. Because I'm an awkward bastard, I chose a song I've never sung before and don't really know--though it has many associations.

I've always been able to sing okay--though currently I'm really out of practise. And for someone who's been playing the ukulele only one week I think it's possible I'll end up being able to play in a way that won't wholly embarrass everyone around me.* But I'm less sanguine about being able to do both at the same time. If you want a demonstration of this, here's a 55-sec snippet of me trying to play the first verse of "Hallelujah." (You might need to turn it up because I wasn't exactly belting it out.) Recorded on my iPhone** immediately after breakfast and uploaded for public consumption twenty minutes ago before the caffeine hits my system and I recover my senses.


* Not because I'm a musical savant [snort] but because the ukulele is astonishingly beginner-friendly. It invites playful engagement in a way that, say, a violin doesn't. I mean, really, after George Formby who can take a ukulele seriously? They're a purely fun-based lifeform.
** Using the Voice Memo app, which is fantastically simple. A practically perfect little thing. And, again, it discourages Taking Oneself Seriously, something I've spent entirely too much of life doing.
*** Uploaded to via a nifty service called Chirbit.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nineteen years ago today

I married Kelley nineteen years ago today. She married me, too, of course. More precisely, we married each other--really: no one officiated.

We spoke our vows to each other; one of the things we promised was to be "strong and brave and fierce" for each other. We read excerpts from the letters we exchanged during the fifteen months we spent separated by the Atlantic ocean in the days before email. Then family and friends stood up one by one and spoke of their hopes for us and our marriage.

It was a beautiful day. We are only part of the way through our beautiful life. It is very, very good.

At some point in the future, it will be possible to marry in the eyes of the law, not just our family and friends. And I promise you: on the day Kelley and I make this legal on a federal level, we will have a party that makes the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies look like a four year-old's finger-painting party.

Meanwhile, here's a selection of pictures from the last 24 years. Our hairstyles change but our hearts don't.

August 1989
September 1989
October 1992
September 1993
Summer 1999
September 2000

March 2007

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Monday, September 3, 2012

I need some Hild help: anyone know Old Irish?

In terms of writing fiction, Irish has been the bane of my life. It's my own fault; I'm lazy--or perhaps impatient is a better word--when in the grip of the work.

Twenty years ago, when I was writing Ammonite, I created an isolated tribe based on the Mongols. I was hot on the trail of the story, and used placeholder proper nouns based on Gaelic vocabulary. I meant to do the necessary research later and swap out the placeholders for the real words.

But here's the thing about fiction. It doesn't always work according to plan. The characters took on the attributes of their names. I couldn't change the Echraidhe to, say, the Buriyads, or Uaithne for, oh I don't know, Miroslava. It was too late.

Reading through Hild again, I've discovered I'm about to commit the same mistake. Early on in the book, when Hild is about ten, she encounters an old and damaged Irishman who speaks very little Anglisc (Old English). In a cursory online search I couldn't find the Old Irish I needed so I scooped up a hodge-podge of Irish words of dubious provenance, plunked them down, and surged on.

Here's how that passage reads:

The water slapped, the canes rattled, and man, girl, and dog all looked at the sky--clouds piling together, no longer tin but lead--then each other. Hild, encouraged, stood, came closer--oh, her shoes were more mudcake than leather now--and pointed at the willow man, at his white crinkly hair, and said one of the Irish words she knew, "Bán."
And he laughed toothlessly, then loosed a torrent of Irish at her. His accent was strange. She understood three words of it, cailín, maid, Sasanach, Anglisc, and ocrach, hungry, and shook her head. "Go mall," she said, slowly, and "le do thoil," please, and he said it all again. "Go mall," she said again, "lo do thoil." And Madra tilted his head and whined, and then Bán spoke one more time in a jumbled Anglisc/British/Irish mix, and Hild listened with her whole skin, the way she listened to rooks in the field or wind in the trees. She understood, she thought. He was asking her if she was hungry.
She sat in the mud--Onnen would scold her raw--offered a fist to Madra, the first dog she had allowed near her since she watched Od eat the guts of Osric's man, and repeated back to Bán as well as she could, with the words he had used, that she, the Anglisc maid, whose name was Hild, was hungry, a little, but that when she returned she would be very well provided for. And he nodded, but shook his fingers dismissively in that Irish way, just like Fursey, and tutted, and unfastened the sack at his waist and offered her half his cheese and a bite of onion, and a dip in the coarse grey salt collected in the seam of his sack.
So now I'm throwing myself on the mercy of the internets. Do you know Old Irish? Will you check/correct this for me? Or point me to a decent Old Irish glossary/phrase list?

In return I can promise my thanks--and an acknowledgement in the final copy (whether or not the passage above is cut or not).
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just for a little while

I get asked to do a lot of things for free or Just Because: to help new writers, to write blurbs for new books, to write a letter of recommendation, to send something to auction for a good cause, to comment on an idea, to sharpen a job-seeking friend's resume, to visit a library or college. The list is endless (this is not hyperbole). And I'm not particularly special in this regard: it happens to lots of writers. But partly because of the way I was brought up, partly because of the genre in which I first got my start, and partly because fulfilling many of these requests gives me much genuine pleasure, I often say Yes.

Now, just for a little while, the answer is switching to No*.

So, probably until the end of the year, I will not contribute to your fun web article. I will not write an essay for your periodical. I will not review your book. I will not be interviewed. I will not take part in a podcast roundtable. I will not join your board. I will not brainstorm or join your working group. I will not read for or judge your award. I will not run your non-profit social media campaign. I will not give you pointers on your online presence. I will not RT your good cause or recruit for your fundraiser. I will not agree to meet you for the first time no matter what country you have travelled from for the purpose.

As I've said, I actively enjoy many of these things (particularly meeting readers, visiting colleges, being able to recommend students for things, and reading really splendid ARCs of new books whether for blurb or review).

But, just for a little while, I am going to focus wholly on me, Kelley, and our stuff (severally and collectively). The Hild rewrite is imminent. After that I'll be turning my attention to Hild II--and to three other projects (not all of them writing related). Also, I need to pay some serious attention to health maintenance, not to mention family and friends.

I'm not going to vanish. I'll still be here blogging and tweeting. Indeed, it's entirely possible I'll get back to blogging more regularly. I just need to stop spreading myself so thin. Just for a little while.

* Unless it's the kind of thing that involves an enforceable contract and monetary reward. Because, hey, I'm only human.

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