The State of the Writer’s State

So, in case you wonder why there wasn’t a chapter yesterday and there isn’t one at MGC now — I’ve been fighting something since Liberty con.  I very much hope it’s JUST allergies, but if so they’re bad ones.  I really need to figure out a more airtight closure to that vent in the basement.  Reason for thinking it’s allergies is that it actually gets better if I go for a walk.

Also, I haven’t had the time to go over the previous chapters of either Rogue Magic or Elf Blood, and without it I”m going to make a mush of the thing.

I am however going to go back and make Rogue Magic 3rd person.  It will be third person close-in as Witchfinder is, so the personalities still come through but we’re not bouncing head to head.  With unreliable narrators that can get downright dizzying, which is why I think I’ve only had about $40 in donations for RM compared to about that multiplied by 100 from Witchfinder at this similar point in the game.

I purely hate skipping chapters but I MUST concentrate on the overdue novella and novels and I’m starting to have serious doubts about my sanity, or what passes for it in a writer, as I never had so much trouble finishing anything — and I mean anything, as nothing but a few shorts have been finished since February last year — in my life.

I keep being afraid I’m broken, but I think it was last year’s illnesses, overwork and now stress.  The illness meant that I did finish Thorugh Fire, but it was … vacated of emotion.  I’m fixing that now, hopefully.

Overwork — well, now you know why I’m not writing for PJM except the joint column with Charlie once a week.  I would much prefer to have kept that job, because it was regular money, but it wasn’t enough money when rewrites and recastings were eating most of the week.

Then there’s stress.  We need to move out of this house, which, because I can’t stage a house I’m living in means renting something else — something that has proven impossible in Denver and Col Springs.  (the requirements are different for each city mind.)

I’m about 1/10th packed and trying to weed out books, the current criteria for them being that I keep the signed ones, the ones I hope get signed (i.e. most Baen books) and the research books (I have no clue why, but I can’t research on electronic books.  Possibly the fact that by the time I’m ready to write a book my research books look like little porcupines with all those stick-on tags.)  The rest is either being donated, dispersed to friends or sold used.

This will hopefully allow us to move to a smaller house, and one with less household dust.  Though it’s looking like the house can’t go on sale till around Spring next year.  (Shrug.)  This will probably cost us money, but I simply don’t see the way around it, particularly since the hail storm caused damage we didn’t see, and which will have to be fixed.

Most of this — except some painting within reach — is going to mean hiring professionals, but the problem is that process takes time, as does supervising them.

Which brings me to the trip to Portugal this summer, which of course mom has been agitating for for a year, and which I’m not sure I can take at all.

To some extent, she has a point in that I normally go every three years and I’d promised to be there for her 80th birthday.  But the way things have gone, between paying our taxes and being left more or less flat broke; trying to catch up on the writing that didn’t happen last year, and now the storm… I have no idea how to fit that time into my already overloaded year.  All this not helped by mom’s demands that I come for a month or it’s not worth it, or her suggestion that Dan doesn’t need to come so I stay longer.  (The problem isn’t Dan, though he can only stay two weeks or so.  The problem is me.  Mom refuses to have internet in the house, and I can’t be away from the blog, let alone my other obligations for a month.  Also, I can’t write while I’m there.  Oh, okay, in theory I can.  I mean, she always tells me I can.  But in practicality she’s worse than my kids or my cats whom the keyboard clicking sends into some sort of emergency that needs my help.)  All this said, I might have to have a tough talk with her about the realities of time and money this year, and explain I HOPE we can make it next year, but even that is far from certain.  It’s “no emergency occurring” — which right now seems pretty impossible — and everything money going just right, which ditto.  OTOH if I don’t make it over and something happens to dad who is the sole survivor of his siblings, I’ll never forgive myself.

I buy lottery tickets (at least once every three months) but the idiots keep drawing the wrong numbers.  You’d think it was an easy task.

Okay — enough whining.  But that stress, combined with the stress of feeling like I need to be at least three people even to just do the weekly column, the daily blog, the publishing of old stuff and the writing of new one is driving me nuts.

For instance revenue on Witchfinder is falling, as I’m pushing the time to have a sequel out — and the next book, The Haunted Air — is writing itself in my head, starting with a crazy woman running away from her evil step mother by rapelling down the wall of a castle in the clouds (but not your usual castle in the clouds, since she’s on Earth) realizing that the rope is too short, making a quick spell and spilling into Michael’s boat… Which is aloft at the time, since he just figured out how to make small craft fly without carpets.  They’re both seventeen, so it will probably get classed as YA.

BUT I’m still catching up on Baen books which are overdue (And btw rewriting is way harder than writing) and I’m trying to pack a house and it means that when I’m not doing one of those things, I feel guilty.  Since I can’t do them all three at once…

Other things that I feel guilty about are not feeding the subscribers in their space and skipping chapters.

And now we’re back to the beginning.

I honestly don’t know how to stop having freakouts and channel the energy to writing.  Only I’m not a mistress of oriental (or even occidental) disciplines, so it doesn’t seem to happen.

Ah well.  Thank you for letting me blubber all over you.  I’m now going to pull my head out of… uh… and go finish the novella, then finish the novel, hopefully this week, so that I can do the other novel for Baen, so I can do the indie novel.

Who knows?  By December my life could be back on track.  It could happen.

And that’s the state of the writer.  For now.  Stupid, with hopes of improving.

UPDATE: the lovely Shadowdancer has made me two designs, one for Carpe Carp and one for “I was Carped” as well as one for “born to be Hun” and “born to be Hoyden” suitable for baby gifts for our ever exploding Hun tribe.  If I get time this weekend (could happen.  Dan would do it, but he’s working his secondary job this weekend) I’ll upload them to the zazzle shop, together with the Usaian one and the gods of the copybook headings one.  Fingers crossed I actually have time.

157 thoughts on “The State of the Writer’s State

      1. *puts in a vote for ‘finish books’*

        I like the quick gratification of the blog, but I’d kinda like it to last longer than a year as you kill yourself trying to do everything…..

  1. Please take care of yourself. I have been going through a lot of stress the last week and it will probably not get better until we find out what is wrong with the hubby.

  2. These days do seem more overwhelming, a lot of the people around me look to be struggling under a quiet desperation. Or maybe it’s projection.

    In the land of imperfect solutions, I wonder if your parents have ever been to the Springs? Or do they travel?

    1. If it’s projection I share it.
      As for the other, I don’t know how to put this, but please don’t wish my mom on me again. She visited for three months fifteen years ago, and I considered checking into an hospital to escape. It’s not so much her fault but different cultural expectations. In Portugal, your kids’ house is yours and you have primacy over it. Mom threw away kitchen implements she couldn’t identify, tossed all my black clothes because nice girls don’t wear black (and I didn’t discover before trash pickup. SO MANY con t-shirts, and some of Dan’s programming t-shirts, because she thought they were mine) recovered my furniture to her taste, and made all new curtains for every window. She also spent the entire time telling me how to clean and to what standard. She comes here, I run away.
      It would be fun to have dad over and show him all over the West which he dreamed of in childhood (he was a big Western fan) but dad doesn’t travel without mom, or much at all.
      Imperfect… as you say.

      1. o_O

        Comment withdrawn. Suggestion buried. Thought cast into the outer darkness.

        Not the stress reliever one might’ve hoped for…

        1. You touch my performance formal, you are toast, blood kin not excepted. It’s not easy to find a black dress that allows enough freedom of movement to play pipe organ in.

      2. Ah, my mom just used to throw away my holey shirts (you know, the ones that are just getting broken in good) when she would visit and being helpful do the laundry.

  3. At least you have reasons. It’s taking me a week to do a quick edit before sending out to beta readers. I should have been done by Wednesday. :/

    My reasons? Well, thanks to…AHEM…certain blog posts about cover design, I’ve been distracted to thinking about that.

    Of course, I’m determined to get the edits done today and out to betas so I can at least play with covers and not be neglecting other book related stuff. In theory, anyways.

      1. Excellent!
        Glad to see my donation went to good use.
        As for the allergies, a cheap test would be to get hold of a few of those white fiber painter masks the Japanese are so fond of and wear one around the house all day. If you feel better that would be an indication to perhaps ramp up your effort to get out of there or at least hone in on finding the source of the problem. As a side benefit, it would probably freak out the cats.
        Hey, a healthy cat has three states: nap time, supper time, and freak out. And stubborn of course, but that’s not a state, it’s a permanent condition.

        1. I approve of freaking out cats. The potential health benefits are also worth exploring.

          1. Upon arriving here in Queensland, I discovered the grass in some neighbors’ lawns cause allergies whenever they mow, which is usually once a week. I don’t know if they have them over there, but hubby, no stranger to allergies, brought home a stack of hospital masks that have a thin, bendable wire along the top. Bent to fit the nose, my glasses nestle on top of these, and don’t fog up the lenses, which is very necessary since I’m so horribly myopic that without glasses I can only see clearly a foot away from my face.

            Perhaps those would work, if they have them?

            Also, I’m glad you like the designs! The carp one still makes me giggle.

            1. Dan is incredibly allergic to ragweed, which is why I’ve been doing the mowing for most of our married life. how incredibly allergic, you ask? Well, if even a little plant gets sprayed by the mower, his face SWELLS and he has to go for shots.

              1. We got the lady down the street a 3M P100 filter mask that takes the twin pink HEPA filters. It was so sad to see her wearing scarves, a filter mask, and a balaclava to mow her property in July.
                I used to wear one while cleaning mildewy and dusty areas so I would spend more time working than sneezing and wheezing.

      2. Cool. My local art museum isn’t really conducive to that, but there’s a coffee shop I like to hit up when I have a little extra cash. Nice cup of tea, one of their really good sandwiches, and time to write.

    1. Tom, commenting on this blog is the only creative writing I’m managing time for at the moment.

      So, color me jealous.

        1. Hm. If you’re influenced by what you’re listening to any where near as much as I am, that could give your covers an interesting, wicked character.

          Larry would probably approve.

          1. Given the generally complimentary* remarks he dropped about Sarah and Dan during his visit at Congregate** (Winston-Salem) I am sure Larry would approve.

            *Cannot recall specifics, only the warm glow he radiated when referencing Household Hoyt.

            **The reason I had severe deficiency of Vitamin S over the weekend. Good con, much Baen support.

        1. Hrmph. So I get back to the big box of a computational thing instead of he pocket-nuisance and find…no nesting fail. Apparently just a phone nesting fail. Hrmph.

          And it’s not even Monday.

          1. Ours likes to “bury” his chewbones in the bed or sofa. He industriously scratches where he wanted the hole to be, plops the chewbone there, and then tries to shovel the “dirt” back in with his nose…. apparently oblivious to the fact that there is no hole there, and the sofa cushion doesn’t shovel worth a flip….

      1. Well, I’m gainfully unemployed, so I have a fair bit of time. Especially since the new teenager is out of school for the summer. That gives me a bit of help with the two year old.

        Of course, school is coming up again, and that’s going to require some…creative…use of time. :/

      1. No oops. All good stuff that I needed to know.

        It’s on me for not saving it until after the edits were done. Luckily, they’re done now so I can focus on designing the cover.

        Now, to figure out how to do a full cover in GIMP. :/

            1. I don’t know what the specifics of your computer hating video are, but most of the Youtube problems I’ve personally encountered have been solvable by downloading the entire video first using youtube-dl, and then watching the video with VLC after it’s fully downloaded. May or may not solve your problems, but worth a try.

              On that note, one thing I find VERY handy about youtube-dl is the -c (for “continue”) option: if my Internet connection gets interrupted partway through loading the video, no sweat, I can resume where I left off. So nice given some of the Internet connections I’ve had to deal with in the past couple years.

              1. Ooh, thank you for that link. I hate having videos stop and buffer, and would rather wait for the whole thing to download. I also hate having to re-download a video I’ve already watched.

                1. Another neat trick I’ve found with youtube-dl, by the way, is to deliberately interrupt the first attempt at downloading the video, then resume it with the -c option. (I type -c practically by instinct by now, which means all I have to do the second time is hit the up arrow once to retrieve my previous command, which already had -c in it, then press Enter to execute it again.) I don’t know why Youtube’s servers are set up like this, but apparently if you’re downloading a brand-new video, they throttle your bandwidth — but if you’re resuming an interrupted download, they feed it to you as fast as your connection can handle incoming data. Which means I get the video downloaded all the sooner.

                  (Though at least on my Linux system, I can tell VLC to play the “whatever.mp4.part” file that youtube-dl is creating, and it will play all the way to the end of the video — so I can start playing while it’s still downloading, just like using their site except that as an added bonus I still have a copy of the video around. On Windows, though, I can’t guarantee that because Windows does things with file locking that Linux doesn’t need to do, because of the more flexible design of the Linux filesystem. So if you’re on Windows, my “play it while it’s still downloading” trick might not work: caveat lector.)

        1. If GIMP is kind of overwhelming (and it can be – at least for me at first) you might want to try Pixlr.com. I used it to get used to working with layers – and one nice little revelation was realizing that it didn’t matter much what the HIDDEN stuff, or stuff under something else looked like.

          For example, I was putting a little army helmet on a squirrel. Found the helmet, cut it more or less to shape, rotated it a bit, then slapped it as a separate layer on top of the squirrel image. Okay, I had ears sticking up past the periphery of the visible helmet… so I shifted layers to the squirrel image and erased the top of the squirrels’ head at the ear line. Shift back to the helmet layer, and now you’ve got a squirrel with the ears apparently neatly tucked into his helmet.

          Spent most of Friday, in fact, doing a mockup of how I wanted the cover to look (crude cut&pastes, approximate images and the like) in Pixlr, then did the final in GIMP. GIMP’s got so many features it’s easy to get overwhelmed, while Pixlr’s got pretty much the bare essentials to do the job.

          This is the final version. It’s a bit more cluttered than the ‘Galaxy’ or ‘Nebula’ covers of the time – but it works. Perhaps the next issue will be a bit less ‘busy’, if there’s a next.

            1. I feel your pain, to coin a phrase. GIMP has an embarrassment of riches, and some of them aren’t exactly visible at first.

              I found a 10-minute long video that took me through making of nebulas, stars and planets step by step. I must have spent close to 3 hours doing the same steps, stopping every few second and exploring menus and functions. My lovely bride said she got tired of me going “Wait – what the hell was that?”

  4. Sarah,

    I say take the two weeks if not the whole month.

    Recharge the batteries. Come back with a clear head. Step back from your problems.

    The blog will be here when you get back. We will be here when you get back (That was not a threat on my part. 😉 )

    Stress is not conductive for getting things done

    I rember someone giving the advice of “Perfection is the enemy of the good.” It was good and wise advice then and it is now.

    Do what you can, because that is all that you can do.

    My2Cents.

    1. I’m with Josh (not that your life is up for vote or anyone else has any real say). From where I sit, you’re sounding burnt out. I was completely burnt out for a while in the spring and wasn’t really getting anything done. Finding a way to recharge and destress may help make things work more smoothly. Just my 2 cents (we’re up to $.04 so far) and I know you’re a grown woman who can take care of herself. Good luck.

      1. Josh’s mis-estimation is that a month in Portugal would regenerate me. Portugal is a complicated place for me, as is the tribe I call a family. It’s more like a slow-motion nervous breakdown. It would take me a month to recover from a month in Portugal. And I’d be lucky to do it that quickly. A month vacation? Sure. A month in Portugal? I’m not sure I could survive a week.
        I’d like to go and see my dad, but if I could visit for a couple of days I’d do that.
        Understand, it’s not that I don’t love my family — it’s that the entire setting of the visit (having to stay with family, who last knew me to any degree thirty years ago and who not only don’t understand anything about my life and the US, but who don’t understand that they don’t understand, and insist on lecturing me based on their VIEW of what the US and my life are like) is designed to send me screaming over the edge.

        1. Good point. Family is always an adventure. My wife doesn’t understand why I won’t spend a major holiday with my family. All I can say is “It’s complicated.” Having to spend a month without them and with no escape? Yeah, an invitation to a breakdown.

          I hope you can find a way to be less carboniferous. 🙂

            1. It’s not that I don’t love my family either. They just know how to push each other’s buttons and when you get more than two of us together everyone kind of reverts to type and things get weird. As sad as it is to say, things have mellowed out since a few of them have passed on. But I still won’t spend a major holiday with them.

              1. I’m blessed that my family is able to be in a screaming fight and then go back to doing whatever. (It’s a major stress relief for my sister, actually; we start arguing while we clean the house and five minutes later we’re wonderfully relaxed.)

                Problem:
                you know that passive aggressive, condescending junk? The “acceptable” type of fighting? Especially if you’re accusing someone else of exactly what you’re doing?
                THAT really pisses people off. And some have found that’s a way to “win”… so… drama.
                Possibly, they’re just trained into it because you’re not supposed to yell. It’s so much better to be snide, and lie to hurt people. *sarc*

        2. I have to agree about the length of stay with family. A week was tops for me by the time I’d been away from home ten years. Sometimes, we’d only stay three or four days. Visits to my BIL have ceased, as there’s no connection between his family and ours any more. Surprisingly, we’d love to spend a few days with his ex-wife. These days, a week is the maximum I can put up with the humidity! In case no one’s told you before, getting old stinks.

          You just moved to the top of my prayer list. I shall pray that you get unexpected but welcome relief from most of your stress. Let’s hope God answers soon!

          1. Thank you for understanding. It’s the STRANGENESS, as well as being completely at their mercy that gets to me. It’s not that they don’t know me — how could they? I went to an alien place and became different — it’s that they think they do.

            1. Ah, point taken about family. But I still think some relaxing me time might still be in order. If that won’t just up the stress level worring over thing not getting done.

              Sometimes we can’t help worring and fussing. It are way of showing we care.

              🙂

        3. Understand, it’s not that I don’t love my family — it’s that the entire setting of the visit (having to stay with family, who last knew me to any degree thirty years ago and who not only don’t understand anything about my life and the US, but who don’t understand that they don’t understand, and insist on lecturing me based on their VIEW of what the US and my life are like) is designed to send me screaming over the edge.

          Plus the “didn’t understand me that well in the first place” and “will weigh the gossip from the Loud Cousin over what their lying eyes have to report.”

          Also, lame jokes that you’re supposed to appreciate being the butt of, and drama that you’re supposed to just do your bit in.

          (From the part of the family that is not high drama.)

            1. I think it’s the kind of families Odds tend to marry into/come out of; my husband’s has some similar aspects.

              It could be long-time Catholic cultures, too, for all I know; Portugal, Italy and Ireland(ish). The high drama side is Protestant, but there’s some Spanish Basque and another Italian involved in the “high” part of that drama….

              Maybe there’s just a sizable portion of families that are utterly insane.

                  1. Oh, well, yeah, they were both thirteen, though thank G-d not at the same time. And I want a medal for not hanging them out the window by their feet with a sign “Free to a home.” I’m passing on the warning so you know. Thirteen is the PITS.

                    1. I’m planning on taking up coopering. That way I can build the barrel I’ll nail ’em into, should they choose poorly…

                    2. Plus, come the revolution, tovarisch, everyone need good, collective barrel.

                      Of course, I’ll be stuffing kommisars in mine . . .

                    3. I usually use a mixture of dark, peasant bread and cast lead, and then pickle them in the cheapest rotgut bourbon I can find. They’re far more American that way.

                    4. Interesting times are ahead for you!
                      My favorite thing was walking into an elevator with Marshall in “HIGH THIRTEEN mode” the gist of his discourse being that we’d done him wrong in several contradictory ways and further more it injured him to be seen with bozos such as us. I was mortally embarrassed as another family got in with us. And then they started grinning, and the dad said, “He’s thirteen, isn’t he? He might as well be shouting it from the rooftops.”… it was… a sudden relief, and he was so embarrassed he buttoned his lip the rest of the day.

                    5. I have no doubt.

                      As I’ve pointed out to a few other folks, I now have a teenager in the house at the same time I have a two year old.

                      This year is gonna suuuuuuuuuck

                    6. Ah, sir, I hope you like gray hair. And maybe dwindling quantities of it.

                    7. I’ve already got a fair amount of gray as it is, but I expect there to be no brown by the time he graduates high school.

                      Baldness may be close behind. It doesn’t run in the family, but none of them had a teen and toddler at once!

                    8. Gah. I HATE my grey hair. Not that I minded the idea of getting some, just that it came in in clumps instead of nicely spread across my head.

                      The loss of it has been going on since I was about 25, and dad had a big bald spot* since he was 35-40, so that I always knew that was going to happen.

                      * Yes, I know male pattern baldness is supposed to inherit from the mother, but my brother has a bald spot in the back of his hair, where the spot is that the hair seems to radiate from, but mine is just like my dads – a little tuft of hair in the front, then a bald spot from there back.

                    9. I’m pretty sure the “male pattern baldness comes from the mother” thing is a statement of PROBABILITY– that is, the most common form is that way.

                    10. Can I say something nice about 13-year olds? My daughter was perfectly lovely at 13 (and 14 and all the upper teenaged years). Maybe it was because she was a daughter, and we are and were very close. Of course, it was always only the two of us so … as she says, “We HAD to get along.”

                    11. I never really noticed much difference, except in vocabulary and inventiveness of how to cause problems, between the ages of 18 months and 15 years in our two…

                1. You don’t tease them about how stupid and lacking in social graces they are. How they they’ll never be able to live anywhere but in a group home?

                  I’m very sorry for this bitter post. But on occasion I hate my family. They think they’re all that! No matter what happens to them they’ll have a younger sister to boss around to make them feel better about themselves.

                  1. I hope this doesn’t offend. I don’t think of you as Jewish Sarah. Anyway you’re not Ashkenazi. Most thoroughly Sefardi.

                1. Well they are our Elder Brothers….

                  More seriously, if someone was raised in a strong religious format, and doesn’t observe any more, I think that may trigger High Drama. Ditto if there’s some other essential guilt involved– drama is a great stress shift. Heaven knows it’d explain several folks that, otherwise, I’m not sure where they come from.

                1. Amen. I say that often about the Oyster Wife, but it applies to my whole immediate family. We’re in the process of gathering the whole tribe here, and we’re all excited for it. I’m truly blessed.

            1. Yours and mine might very well be related, though, given that you know, the armies of the Kings Phillip recruited heavily from my region, when they were occupying Portugal (as much because it’s a poor region, as to get potential troublemakers out of there.) And my dad’s side a) likes them exotic. b) spreads it with a high dispersion hose. (Ahem. I did NOT type that.)

              1. If you want to understand my strange family, google “Creek Families” — we’re part of that group. Eighty percent of the people I went to school with had those same surnames – in central Louisiana. My family has always lived in each other’s hip pocket. I escaped — I’m the black sheep.

  5. Best of luck on the move, Sarah.

    Hey, it could be worse: We’re moving from California to Minnesota currently. Onliest Favorite Wife is already there, staying with #1 Daughter and Son-in-Law; I’m still here wrapping up the last bits.

    We were in this house for 35 years, so you can imagine what sorting/cleaning/discarding/packing has been like (don’t do it before breakfast/coffee/stiff drink), and without the help of a lot of friends and family, we’d still be working on it. Especially for our three kids (the baby is 31 and recently married hisself) for sitting us down just after his wedding and telling us it was time to get out while we still can.

    Now, just hoping the house sells quickly; it goes up on the market tomorrow. And I’ve got to load my Ranger and be out by noon. Ish.

    1. I wish I could reassure you that Minnesota is a step up from California politically, but arguing with a straight face that being represented by Senator Franken is preferable to being represented by Representative Boxer exceeds even my powers of dissimulation.

      I hope you make out like bandits on the real estate differential.

  6. Ugh … my sympathies in regard to sales … sales of my own stuff has dropped like a rock over summer. I am only hoping that they will pick up again at the end of the year, when I do all kinds of local events and Christmas fairs. The only thing I can think of to do right now is double down and work harder on the two current projects; the re-imagining of the Lone Ranger, which only has the rest of one adventure to go, and which is schedule to be my new book at the Christmas sales… and the picaresque Gold Rush adventure, scheduled for next year. The good part – is that one is beginning to jell. I’ve put yours’ (and Cyn’s, IIRC) tendency to go all berserker when pushed into a corner into the main character … which, curiously, seems to have done the trick for me.

  7. ‘S OK, they haven’t picked my lottery numbers yet either.

    Maybe a passel of us could pool our pennies and have you lead a “Weird History of the Real Iberia” tour of Portugal, where we climb over castles, eat too much, laugh at Dan Brown’s version of history, and you could drop in to visit your folks for a few days, then flee to “rejoin the tour before they get in trouble. Sorry Mom, I have to. Otherwise there might be an international incident.”

    1. I’d LOVE that. It’s sort of my dream if I ever get the money — get a place in Algarve, so visits to the family are day-long and regulated. Go over three months or so, bring friends over for tours of Portugal…

    2. If they ever picked my numbers, I could see being up for that, although not for a month. Even with friends along to poke fun at the locals with, I don’t believe I could stand a month of putting up with Europeans before I had to recreate history and do as my ancestors did; leave the continent by any means possible.

          1. We’re too old and sick for conquering. However, we’d probably start one by yelling at the native about their inadequate internet/computers/electricity etc. I don’t think we’d survive Portuguese hospitals or even British hospitals. Would you believe that there is a culture gap between NY and TX? And we’re even in the same country.

            My sister and brother don’t like books as much as we do. They got rid of most of their books! Granted this was before e-books, but still. My sister, brother and I don’t have much in common. We are only related by blood.

            1. Would you believe that there is a culture gap between NY and TX? And we’re even in the same country.

              Well, yeah, Texans are sane.

              1. In my experience, the people in most of New York are sane. Note I did not say most of the people in New York. New Yorkers have largely isolated their insane members to the cities of New York and Albany, and portions of the Hudson Valley in between. Go twenty miles west of the Hudson and sanity seems to largely return.

                1. Sort of like our liberal reservation in Austin. Betcha that’s where Zero visited TX.

                2. That’s been my understanding as well, like Illinois, one crazy city skews the whole state. Or is that screws?

                    1. 😀

                      Locally sourced, hand-crafted, native clay with hemp binders bricks.

              2. Thank you! If you’ve never lived in the South and only visited Austin (liberal reservation thereof) You wouldn’t know that you were insane. My sister voted for Hilary.

                    1. Oh yeah, there are. I’ve got a gaming friend of several years (we still play together on various games) who’s pretty much trapped there because he can’t work up enough money to move away. Imagine the shock of the other American gamers when they found out he’s a devout practicing Roman Catholic and pretty conservative to boot.

              1. Of course! You like to read. My sister forced me to get rid of my father’s books while she kept his furniture. I hope she enjoyed screwing me over. Because I will never let her in my life again. If she’s deathly I’ll visit. I’ll never forgive her. Usually I just put it out of mind. My father was a book collector and there are volumes of that I miss and will never be able to replace. She knew that I wanted to keep them but it was more important to keep the furniture and I didn’t need to keep Daddy’s musty books. It’d be too expensive to rent storage space for books that weren’t important and I wouldn’t have the room to keep. It would be ever so much more important for me to have the proper clothes (ones that would lookj good on her) to snag a husband she could approve of. After all, I was so much inferior in every way to her and my brother Damn her! I wish I could tell her to FOAD! I bless the day I met my husband..

              2. I like having hardcopy reference/technical books. If there’s a Carrington event, electrons to charge e-book readers may be difficult to come by for a while. Books, however, don’t need charging – just enough light to read them.

                But for browsing/light reading? I’ll take the ebook – I love living in the future and hauling around a library in a tablet!

    3. Any semi-organized fan activity on the continent like the groups we have here putting on cons? Especially any with a leaning towards Baen stuff. You could at least write off some of the travel expense, and use business as an excuse to cut things short with the folks.
      Sneaky I am. Have many family issues my own self. Like you I love them to death, and like you things go tits up after three or four days of close contact.

      1. An old friend of mine from AFS year put on a convention at Cascais. I don’t know if it’s still going on. But it wouldn’t have a leaning for Baen stuff. It’s Europe. More likely SJW.

        As for family — yes. And it’s also a peculiar problem of expatriates who’ve been away long. The first years you go back because you miss the land, then you go back for your relatives, but it’s more and more FOR your relatives. You love them to death, but the points of contact are worn away, if that makes sense, and the combination of familiar and strange is more horrifying than all strange. I understand Kate Paulk is starting to experience this, and, trust me, Australia is a lot more like the US than Portugal is.

        1. Based on your recent posts it seems obvious that you were a stranger in a strange land even growing up in Portugal. So I suspect acculturation was accelerated in your case. And naturally the more the “American” takes over the less “other” you retain.
          As I’ve said here and elsewhere, I have no problem with immigration, just in floods that overwhelm the system and impede the acculturation process. You wind up with aliens in residence instead of new citizens.

  8. I suspect that you creating your subscriber space has likely been a large cause of the lack of Rogue Magic donations. People are donating to YOU, while they aren’t specifying their donations for Rogue Magic, in their subconscious is the thought, I gave Sarah $X.

    1. Ha! Scrolling down before opening my big fat keyboard pays off!

      Count me as one of those sorta kinda thinking that being a site subscriber meant I would be getting Rogue Magic (not to be confused with Rouge Magic, the Idiots’ Guide to Make-up (which should not be confused with the Idiot’s Guide To Apostrophes (which ought not be confused with …))) as part of the emoluments attendant upon subscribing. I will be subscribing fifthwith (meaning next time I sit down at computer with checkbook in hand in order to write the draft and hold it up to the screen for processing into your bank account.)

      Which brings to mind — it seems on the order of a year since The Great Subscription Drive of One-Three (or whenever it was, so it ought be time to renew. Howcomes you no send out reminders offering bribes discounts if you don’t have to nag us? Would subscription renewals at random intervals create problems? Is there someplace on the site we can go look to find out when we are overdue? (Other than the Subscribers’ Space, of course.)

      1. Delete:
        Howcomes you no send out reminders offering bribes discounts if you don’t have to nag us? Would subscription renewals at random intervals create problems? Is there someplace on the site we can go look to find out when we are overdue? (Other than the Subscribers’ Space, of course.)

        Replace with:
        Howcomes you no send out reminders offering bribes discounts if you don’t have to nag us? Would subscription renewals at random intervals create problems? Is there someplace on the site we can go look to find out when we are overdue? (Other than the Subscribers’ Space, of course.)

        One reliable indicator of severe Vitamin S deficiencies is unclosed HTML tagging, the virtual equivalent of leaving your fly open or allowing your slip hem to droop below the skirt. Copious typos, run-on sentencing and incoherent composition, subject/verb misalignment and innovative spelling are also signs of Vitamin S deficiency.

        1. *Checks skirts* My petticoat ruffle is supposed to show. Are you implying that my sartorial splendor is suggestive of suggestiveness? Or that perhaps I am not properly “put together?” *flutters fan, raises eyebrow*

  9. Sarah, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Both my wife and I have been going through a patch very much like you describe, with the additional stress of Em’s having unknown medical issues right now. We try to remember that despair is a sin, but some days that’s harder than others. At least, reading this blog reminds us that we aren’t the only ones seeing this country going through a rough patch, and trying to figure out what we can do to survive it.

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