The biggest lesson I learned from Ross was to present the world incidentally through the action of the story. I don’t want to imply that Ross was Worldbuilding by accident, far from it. Instead she introduced readers to the complex concepts of an alien world as she was dealing with other writerly stuff such as plot and character. While Wade’s reading demonstrated rich narrative passages that allowed the reader to see the world, Ross’s reading jumped straight in to the action, but carefully crafted that action and her telling of it to expose the world we were visiting. Ross’s approach is also one that relates organically to the theatrical designer. Theatrical designers do not get to give the audience a two minute guided tour of the design so that they can take in what it is and what it means. Instead, the curtain goes up, the actors enter, and the play is off and running. The audience has to pick up the world of the play while following the action. Is this the sort of play where a Styrofoam cup and some string symbolizes a phone? If so, designers show that to the audience. Whatever the world of the play is, it is important to show it through the action of the play.
Read the whole blog post here:
World Building | setsandlights
- Current Mood:creative
From the Lambda Literary review: The love stories between the alien pairs were the most important, and the most tender moments of the book, Not only for the fascinating look at sexual biology and the way Wheeler has shaken and blended gender norms like a Bond martini, but because they are also beautiful romances, familiar family issues, and heart-touchingly domestic. The aliens’ whole way of life is built on the family structure, the treasuring of the all-too-rare children, and the valuing of honesty and generosity between clan kin. The relationships span all ranges and makeups – from widowers to young lovers; from established partnerships with adult children to newlyweds with a baby on the way; from unrequited loves to loves cut tragically short. In this way, Wheeler has given us aliens with hearts as human as the readers, and that’s the point.</p>
A starkly entertaining allegory of Middle East tensions, and a romantic and intellectually sexy gender discussion wrapped up in a compelling novel that solidifies Dragon Moon Press’ swiftly growing place amid the new wave of socially-aware and unafraid-to-make-its-readers-think genre fiction publishers.- See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/0
I've read sections from this book at Gaylaxicon 2004 in San Diego, and more recently at SF in SF. Special thanks to everyone who kept asking when the book was coming out and to Gabrielle Harbowy, my editor at Dragon Moon Press, for believing in it!
To read more about gender and gender roles in Collaborators, check out my previous blogs: Collaborators - Thinking About Gender and World-Building in Collaborators – Designing a Gender-Fluid Race </p>
- Current Mood: ecstatic
First was editorial revisions for the third volume of The Seven-Petaled Shield, called The Heir of Khored. Then reviewing copy edits for same.
Then a true delight -- I'll do a separate post about this one -- proofreading the Book View Cafe ebook edition of Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Catch Trap. I've always loved that book, and proofing it felt like crawling inside the story to see how it works. But it's a long book...
And just after I sent it off, what should appear but page proofs for Heir?
Except suffering is not a contest. Suffering is not a race to the bottom. It’s not a competition to see who has the worst, most unspeakable affliction.
I run into this when I tell my own story about my mother’s murder. People always want to compare their pain to mine and it simply doesn’t work that way.
Pain is pain. When we hurt, the last thing we need to think is that somehow our pain isn't sufficient or worthy because someone else has a more spectacular story.
[cancer] Comparing pain cards just makes me want to go for my thankfully nonexistent guns | jlake.com
My husband, fellow Book View Café writer Dave Trowbridge,and I have languished in the condition known as Dog Withdrawal. Our wonderful old German Shepherd Dog, Oka (in the icon), died last April from leukemia at the august age of 12 ½ (GSDs typically live 9-12 years), and the lively puppy who bounced into our lives later that spring went to find a new home (on a ranch owned by rodeo ropers) when I was out of the state for almost two months, caring for a dying friend. After that, we decided to give ourselves time to properly grieve both losses, an act of faith that the universe would present us with the right dog at the right time.
The way this works is you have to give the universe a helping hand from time to time. So both of us spoke of the “German Shepherd Dog-sized hole” in our lives. As it happened, a musician (French horn) in two of the bands Dave plays in (bass and soprano clarinet) is married to a blind man whose seeing eye dog was nearing retirement age. Seeing eye work is strenuous for dogs, both physically and mentally. It requires constant alertness, lightning reflexes, and the strength and speed to instantly pull an owner out of harm’s way. After some discussion, they brought their dog over fora visit. We got to meet Tajji (which means “my crown” in Arabic, her owner being Egyptian), a lovely, sweet-tempered German Shepherd Dog. She’s 10 years old and in good shape for her age with beautiful, strong conformation. Coincidentally,she is a sable (sometimes called “gray” or “Grau”) like Oka. In fact, except for the difference in their sizes, she looks like a feminine version of him.
I think service dogs must have an on/off switch, at least, this particular seeing eye dog does. She’s intensely focused on her work while in harness, but when it comes off, it’s as if she entered a time warp to when she was a young dog at the beginning of her socialization. So we had a lot of running around, investigating everything (cats safely behind closed doors!),jumping on people and furniture, but all with a kind of softness. Even a gentle“no” or “leave it” had instant positive results.
We noticed right away how different Tajji’s temperament is from that of our previous dogs. Oka, like many GSDs, was quite aloof with strangers. That’s a breed characteristic. And Darcy, our puppy, had the combination of puppy energy and high-end competitive dog intensity. But Tajji,once she was off-harness, greeted us sweetly and enthusiastically and then would return from her exploration of the house to ask me and Dave for attention. She also has a much lower prey drive than Oka did. Both make sense when you think about what’s needed in a service animal who will be raised in one family,trained by someone else, and finally assigned to a new person, and be expected to bond with each of these. (And it would not be a good thing at all for a service dog to take off after small fleeing things like squirrels!) Not only that, but she has stayed with friends and dog sitters many times over the years while her owner traveled abroad to places he didn’t feel were safe for his dog.These prior experiences made it more likely that Tajji would be able to integrate well into a new family despite her age.
We were so clearly the perfect new home that Tajji’s owner decided to make the transfer permanent now rather than follow the preliminary plan, which was to have her stay with us while he traveled, then return to him until he received a replacement dog. It became clear to everyone that a single change, emotionally wrenching as it is, would be much better for both dog and owner.
We prepared the house by setting up the largest of our dog crates adjacent to the dining area and placing baby gates in strategic doorways as see-through, smell-through cat barriers, bringing in additional dog beds so there is one in every major room, digging out our collection of dog toys, and supplying ourselves with yummy liver dog treats (tiny ones for small dogs, so as to give a burst of deliciousness without requiring chewing and without adding a ton of extra food intake). We discussed the situation with the cats,but I don’t think they took our warnings seriously.
Last Sunday, Tajji moved in, complete with her old familiar bed and a T shirt that her owner had worn and not washed, so it smells like him. I played with her in our large fenced yard and then we took her for a walk. Our semi-rural neighborhood is full of wonderful things to smell – all the local dogs, cats, squirrels, deer, raccoons, skunks…. We are determined to convince her this is dog heaven, where liver treats rain from the sky and every day ispacked with play!
Needless to say, we have fallen in love with her already!
I’d heard about the importance of looking away, blinking, or even using lubricant eye drops while working for long hours at the computer. Apparently we don’t blink as often as we normally do when we’re staring that the screen. That “tired eyes” sensation is not due to fatigue but to dryness. In my case, this was made worse by the natural drying-out of eyes with age (and the hormonal changes of menopause), and made even more worse by the number of hours I normally wear my lenses. Wearing them daily – washing my hands and putting them in every morning; washing my hands, cleaning them, and leaving them to soak every night – had become so much a part of each routine, I never thought about it. That’s one of the good things about habit – I reliably got my teeth flossed and brushed, my night time medications taken, and all the other daily self-care things. The down side of such habits is that they’re hard to break or to modify. So when my optometrist advised me to take them out for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, I blithely and optimistically agreed. I set out to do so with all the good intentions in the world. The problem was that there was no time in my daily routine that I could easily and automatically add this contacts-lens-break.
The other problem, perhaps even more of an obstacle, was that although I do have a pair of back-up spectacles (I’m wearing them now), the prescription is old and my vision has changed, so they don’t give me good correction. In addition, the lenses are so thick, they distort objects, the most disorienting being the keyboard of my piano, which appears to be bowl-shaped! So, naturally, all my good intentions went by the wayside.
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I'm not a fan of Big Pharma, but there is a reason why new drugs are needed, especially for conditions that are notoriously difficult to treat (like my friend's MS). I'm willing to allow that research, development, and clinical trials are costly and contribute to the price of a new drug. I don't think that everyone ought to run out and demand their doc prescribe the newest and most expensive drug when a generic might work just as well.
But once a patient has had a good result (or the best of all possible lousy results) with a drug, it's unethical to insist that patient return to inadequate treatment. Just. Plain. Wrong.
Latest updates on the TwitPlace are that Aetna is supposed to get back to my friend this morning, so this case may be settled. Thanks for listening to my rant, anyway.
Here's Karen's story:
Originally posted by klwilliams at Will I still be able to walk?
Enter Tecfidera, the wonder drug. While Rebif (and all the other drugs to that point) would at best suppress about 35% of MS symptoms, Tecfidera (a pill rather than shots) suppresses 50% of symptoms. I started on Tecfidera as soon as it became available. When I started on it, I could walk maybe ten steps at a time, and was working at home. I started using a walker, and needed it to get around my house. Now, less than a year later, I don't use the walker around my house, and only use it to get to work (a 40-mile trip by train and bus to downtown San Francisco) or to walk around open areas where there aren't convenient handholds or places to sit. This week, I was able to ride my bike (an adult trike) the mile downtown, park the bike, walk without a walker into a restaurant to order soup to go (to take back to my husband), and brought it back home. This is huge.
The problem? I have new insurance, Aetna, much better than my old insurance. My current three-month supply of pills was going to run out, so with a three-week supply still at hand I called my pharmacy. MS drugs are acquired through specialty pharmacies, since the drugs need special care, so they need to be shipped via UPS/Fedex. This isn't a ten minute trip downtown. They contacted Aetna for an authorization, who asked for a "prior authorization" from my doctor. Who sent it immediately. My pharmacy (Walgreen's Specialty Pharmacy, which is a dream pharmacy, and in fact a great model for any business. They're just that good.) keep checking in for the official OK, but nothing from Aetna. This past week, with my supply running low, I finally reached someone at Aetna on Wednesday, who said that a nurse needed to OK the prior authorization. I explained I had only a week's worth of pills left, but he said it might take two days. So on Friday I reached someone there, who said that the nurse couldn't OK it, a doctor had to. Why? Because while I had tried Rebif, I hadn't tried another drug (of the same type, that only has a 35% success rate) before moving to Tecfidera. But the man on the phone said he'd send it to a doctor and ask for an update by that night.
Today I called Walgreen's. Nope, nothing. I called Aetna. Nothing. They're not open. On a three day weekend. I run out of pills on Wednesday. I'm not going to get new pills in time. In fact, if Aetna tries to make me try this other drug, it may be a while. For one thing, if I have to take this new drug, my ability to walk will definitely deteriorate. Just when I had hope of getting off the walker entirely soon. Just when I had the outside hope of maybe being able to study aikido again (I am a black belt, after all). Maybe. Or maybe not.
Aetna, why are you damaging my ability to walk?
The fluffy stuff is the insulation he (or she, I can't tell) clawed up. It was extremely annoyed at being confined. The moment we released it, it scooted up the nearest tree, one of our beautiful old California oaks, flipping its tail and chittering its opinion of our hospitality "in our general direction."
As you can see, the squirrel suffered no visible ill effects from incarceration. We are still in the dark about how it managed to get in the attic space, so we're keeping our "free inspection" with the pest control people tomorrow.
The squirrel population around here goes in cycles, in part dependent on how happy the oak trees are, and therefore how productive of acorns. When there's a bumper crop, the next year there's a population explosion. They have plenty of natural predators, everything from great horned owls to bobcats to coyotes and cats. And automobiles. I kid you not; I've hit one that made it to safety and then reversed course in a stellar Darwin Award performance.
Today's update: there is still something scrabbling up there above our bedroom. Dave has advanced the theory there were two squirrels, looking for a nesting site. We're still on schedule for the pest control folks...
Today we embarked upon a courtship with a potential new dog. Tajji is a Seeing Eye Dog, a gorgeous sable German Shepherd Dog, who is now 10 years old. (GSDs typically live 9-12 years.) Seeing Eye work is physically as well as mentally demanding, so her owner is looking to retire her to all the delights of "just being a dog." Today we met her and her family (actually, Tajji's mommy plays in one of the bands in which Dave is also a member, which is how we heard about her).
Oh. My. What an amazing and wonderful dog. Dave and I have been looking at one another and wondering how we lucked out. She's got all the intelligence and intensity of a working-line GSD, coupled with sweetness of temper and focus on people. Compared to our old guy, Oka, who was quite aloof, she's outgoing and sociable with people she's just met.You'd never guess she was 10, she moves so freely.
So she'll come to stay with us in just a little bit while her owner travels abroad to places he isn't comfortable taking her, during which time he will make arrangements for a new dog. If all goes as planned, Tajji will just visit us forever.( Read more...Collapse )
- Current Mood: excited