I’m still mired in book, and part of it frustrates me, because it SHOULD have been done a week ago. Heck, two weeks ago. The problem is for this phase, particularly for this book — the going over the book and seeing it as a whole and balancing the parts — I need to concentrate on it, and concentrating has been a little in short supply recently.
Most of it is stupid cr*p. I’m still waiting to book the medical stuff, but I also have to get hold of the neuro and I haven’t … well… I haven’t braved myself to talk to an office. You’d think a big ass (literally) woman like me would be fine talking to an office, right? Not just a medical office, but any office?
I would, but I have an accent and I’m mid-range deaf. I’m okay talking to people I know really well, because they will say “No, Sarah, I didn’t ask you about your pirouettes — do you have pirouettes? — I asked if you’d do my cover in exchange for edits.” But even then most of them text, because talking to me on the phone or in a noisy place (a hotel lobby, my kitchen with seven appliances running, my car on a windy day) is like going insane, just a little. I don’t hear what you asked, I answer a completely different question. ‘iz fun. I mean, I’m used to it. But the insidious part of mid-range hearing loss is that you don’t often realize you didn’t hear the question. Your brain rearranges the syllables you did hear into something coherent. This is how talking to an editor in a crowded restaurant I heard her say “I just bought a great YA novel” and I answered “You must tell me the title, I have an 11 year old and a 9 year old who love reading.” What she’d actually said was “I just bought a British hard SF novel.” Yes, her look told me I’d got it wrong, and I made a joke out of it, but I had no idea I hadn’t heard what she said before.
Well, on the phone you don’t get the weird look, and this is a doctor’s office. The thing is one of you told me — and I’ve since checked with medical professionals — that the white matter abnormalities were probably part of having been hypothyroidal very long. Or rather, one of you mentioned it, not knowing I’d been hypothyroidal for over a decade (probably started twenty years ago, and proceeded by degrees. If it can be caused — the autoimmune kind — by a massive illness, which I seem to remember somewhere I read, then it started when I almost died of inter-cellular pneumonia 22 years go. I kind of remember signs, but hey, fatigue and not being in your right mind is normal when you have toddlers. And that’s part of the problem — or not, if it had progressed fast, I’d have gone insane — the symptoms worsened so gradually they didn’t become obvious until the last five years or really really bad till the last three. Hypothyroidal dementia is a good description because the last three years sort of felt like that. Facts and memories just vanished into a hole. Weirdly, this is what white matter abnormalities are: tiny holes.) It never occurred me to tell the neuro that, though he took a very thorough history, and I have the meds in my chart. I think he assumed it was caught and treated early. But apparently if not, these white matter abnormalities are fairly normal.
Here’s the thing: if I call the office they’ll become convinced I have egg whites in the brain, or think I do. So I’ve been putting it off. I wish you could just text doctors. (Add to it that his personnel is a little odd like most busy offices.) Putting things of that sort off is really hard work and prevents you concentrating on the things you want to.
But there’s been other stuff, and I’m not going to go into it here. There is no point. You guys either know what’s been going on or care nothing about it, and those few who don’t and know should go and read Amanda’s and my posts this week at Mad Genius Club. No, we don’t name names, because we’re giving the guilty party a break (though more and more I wonder why) but the sequence is laid out and fairly clear.
However, there are a few things you should know, as my readers.
The first of them is that I’ve been getting angry this week as I never have before. Yes, anger can be caused by thyroid meds. Or at least escalated, but the thing is I’ve been at this level prescription for a while, and anyway this is not that type of anger. It is not what my friend who has the issue calls “getting angry at nothing.”
It is rather getting angry at things that anyone else would get angry about, but which I haven’t, for years.
My modus operandi has been to let things run, until something is SO fricking giant I have to deal with it. I thought I’d acquired an easy going personality in my mid thirties or thereabouts, somehow.
The actual fact is that as years went by, I was more and more tired and chronically depressed. It took a spectacular blow up to get me in the fray, fists bunched. If you consider the culture I come from, that should have been your first clue.
Now… It’s not that I’m more angry:it’s that I’m more awake. I’m paying more attention, doing more, saying more. I feel more. Happy and sad and tender, and competent, and yes, angry, when anger is warranted.
The problem is that I’ve laid down a pattern of “I can get away with this” among people who only know me online, and not well enough to see I’m more “here” now. So people think they can away with all sorts of crazy-ass things, and I will just ignore it, because I don’t have the energy to deal with it.
Which is what originated the blow up. Someone thought he could just get away with sneaking the cheese he’d been told he couldn’t have. There was another one yesterday, because someone presumed to interrupt my writing to tell me what I should or should not care about, and how I should do things.
I try not to blow up at people doing that, particularly men, because I try very hard not to fall in the feminist nonsense of “he’s lecturing me because I’m a woman.” But in this case it’s not. In this case, it’s the ramping up of crazy I saw when Brad was doing SP3, and the backbiting crazy sh*t I’ve seen about how Kate did SP4. So, I’m going to lay some facts on you. No, I don’t care if you like them or not. No, I’m not being dictatorial. I’m a libertarian. That means I do what I want with my own, and this is my own. You don’t like what I’m doing with my own? Get your own. Your life, your problem. You won’t catch me saying how you should live it or how you should solve it.
I’ve, in fact, for years refused to tell newby writers how they should break in, how they should write, or what they should think about their writing. I normally don’t even tell them when I see them doing really stupid crap. Unless apparently they make me really mad and I have the energy to react. (And then I’m, basically just looking for a place to stick the shiv.)
So I’m going to give you the facts, take them or leave them. I don’t frankly see anyone on this blog getting worked up enough to be very upset about them, but I want this out there, just in case one of y’all takes crazy powder one morning.
- I’m running Sad Puppies 5. This is not up for discussion. No, I’m not too sick or busy to do it, I know when I am too sick or busy which is why I deferred two years.
- I’m doing it my way. This is, at this point, a tradition. I didn’t agree with everything Brad did, and I wasn’t too fond of some things in Kate’s plan (which turned out to work, but hey) BUT it was their turn and their direction. The only way individualists like us can have some sort of passing on of the leadership is to step back and say “I’ll support you, even if I think your idea is not right.” The group, such as it is, comes from mutual trust and friendship and believing others are adults.
- No, you cannot claim you’re leading Sad Puppies 5, even if you think your idea is teh awesome and you think you’re a Sad Puppy Leader. The initial group was Larry, Brad, myself, Kate and Amanda. I’m doing it this year, Amanda next year. Because we’ve stayed in touch our ideas have sort of evolved together, and my friends are in accordance with where I’m taking this, if not with the details. This is the only thing you can do with the movement at this point. We feel since it was our idea, we can’t allow it out in the wild where it can become — unwittingly or not, and in most cases I’ve seen it would be not — a false flag operation.
- But you want to lead Sad Puppies. You think what I’m doing is all wrong, and you want it to be a good old fashioned fight, like SP2, with Larry in charge. You want to show the old fandom they’re no longer in control.
Great. You shine right on, you crazy diamond, but not as leader of SP 5. Too bad, so sad. You can even call it something puppy. It seems to be a tradition now. Perhaps you like the sound of Deplorable Puppies or Perfect Puppies appeals to you. Go for it. You start it. Given that some people just want a good fight, this seems like a great idea and you’ll probably get a following. But not under our movement, not under our flag. We’ve been maligned enough in the national press, we don’t want just anyone claiming to be us and tarnishing everything we’ve done and tried to do, okay? Deal with it. You can’t have it. This is not changing. Should I collapse and die tomorrow, Amanda will pick up the flag and do the thing. Or Kate will have another go. (I hope not, as she’s finally writing again.) You want it? You can’t have it. Too bad, so sad. And yes, I’m going to come down like a ton of bricks on ANYONE saying they’re collecting a “list” for “the sad puppies recommendations for the Hugos.”
Don’t like this? Well, if I say “Excuse me, you realize the impression you’re giving?” Apologize and change it. Remember, I have more energy. You have no idea how mad the Latin chick can get. Don’t push.
- A brief history of Sad Puppies: Sad Puppies changed in goal and attitude with each leader, or even the first two years with Larry.
SP1 was just Larry having fun. SP2, after he got a bizarre reaction to SP1, was Larry trying to prove that, despite denials, the Hugos had become a trophy of a clique. He proved that, on the “Get off our lawn” alone.
Brad… Brad is the knight sans peur et sans reproche. You can’t help liking him, even as you go “Oh, my friend, you’re gonna get hurt.” He thought he could prove that if you just presented a list collected in the open and truly without political color line, fandom would go “Oh, you’re just fans like us. You just have a different orientation than lit-crit. Sure, come on in. Here’s a place at the table.” I think his disillusionment started with people being bullied until they dropped out. Then there was the national media campaign to paint us as something we definitely were not. And somehow, people with power to call in favors and get almost the same article published places like Entertainment weekly also screamed they were the underdog and discriminated against.
What a long, strange trip, culminating in wooden assholes.
What that, and the fricking rigging of the rules so the vote counters get to throw out whatever they want to proved the Hugos were dead to me. I’d have moved away from the award. But I was ill and moving, and Kate got it. And Kate is a battler, and thought she’d try ONE MORE TIME, really open, really clear what she was doing, everything aboveboard. Yeah, some people on the other side woke up, but not enough. There were still the usual attacks. Heck, there were attacks when I announced what I’m doing at Mad Genius Club, a few months back. How my plan could get anyone’s dander up is beyond me. And I mean dander up in a “She’s threatening us” kind of way. I really don’t get it, but the crazy people on the other side started a drumbeat about how horrible I am, and people in the other Puppy movement got offended because I was “ignoring” them.
- This brings us to what I’m doing:
I’m not attempting to prepare a list for the Hugos. Seriously? You want to do that? After the award has been dragged through the mud? You want to give them money to throw a splendid party with AND tell just so stories about how you’re a huge monster they fended off? In the words of my people: F*ck that. Ain’t happening. Not on my watch. I didn’t send in supporting membership last year, and I will not do it this year. As such, I cannot tell anyone to spend their hard earned cash. Buy a few books instead.
But they why am I doing this, and what am I doing?
I’m bringing this movement in for a landing and making it permanent. This ties in with Human Wave, too.
The gatekeepers have given push to a kind of book, sometimes under the guise of a “popular award.” That’s fine. It’s how they make money. However because the gatekeepers favor the lit-crit set (there are reasons for this) it leaves those of us who think reading should be a ludic activity out in the cold.
Also, in post-gatekeeper landscape, a lot of us want to find places to discover great books to read. Being found is particularly hard for indies.
I’m taking the idea Kate had and automate it. There will be a site (might be next week as the book isn’t done) that will have a place to enter book, date of publication (I’m not restricting it to last year’s or this year’s) what awards you think it’s eligible for and why you liked it. The program will kick up the top ten every month.
But what about pranksters? What if it is all Chuck Tingle books. Glad you asked. Four people will have the keys to the site, who can not only fix that, but also ban the user/s who did it. Yeah, the site will have registration (though you can use whichever name) and yeah, in our own house we will stop vandals.
But what if the books are all leftist? Glad you asked. We don’t give a damn. If these are books enough people enjoyed it, they go up on the list. (I am right now binge reading an obviously very progressive mystery author. But since it only comes in when she mentions someone’s politics, and she’s otherwise a great writer, I’m still reading.) At any rate, if the books aren’t good and this is just a coordinated campaign, it won’t work. My followers are not exactly dumb bunnies. They can read the blurb and figure out if this is just the same push as from gatekeepers.
What if I hate all the books that rise to the top? Then we’re probably related. Half the time I hear people raving about a book, I go “Oh, you did? I didn’t get past the first chapter.” Which probably explains my stunning success at popular fiction. But you know, no matter how much this favors “majority opinion” you’ll also get the occasional quirky find (you always do) that will link you to an author you’d never otherwise find. Which is why it’s worth to check, and it won’t require much of you.
- What can you do? Well, you can check the lists and buy the books you like. You can also, if the site is up and you like it, make it popular.
Yes, there are other recommendation sites. Those were some people who got awfully offended with this. Look, I’m in the field and I didn’t know of them. And you’d be shocked how I hear of just about everything relevant from people around me.
Am I saying they’re failures? That we can do better?
No, I’m saying that you need all kinds, and all slants. I know why I didn’t hear of those, they’re not the sort of thing my friends go to. And my site won’t be the kind of thing that other people go to. That’s fine. In the age of gatekeeping, there was the Locus list. There were others too, though not as important. Now? Let there be lists for every taste.
Does using the Sad Puppy name make ours more important? NO. It just makes it ours, because we’ve been in this from the beginning, and we’re broadening and embedding the movement into a permanent force now.
- But isn’t Sad Puppies about awards? How can you DO this to us?
Ah. No. Sad Puppies was about restoring integrity and fan power to the field. The Hugos is just where we started.
Now that the Dragons will probably eclipse the Hugos, we’re opening this to “these are the books people like best. Read them and, if you like them, vote for them for awards.” On the site, there will be a page with awards and their requirements. If you think the book qualifies for an award, check it out and put it on your recommend. And if you’re starting a new award, send it to me (ONCE THE SITE IS UP, FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN NOT NOW) and I’ll put it on the page, and also if the author needs to submit the book or not. There will also probably be a permanent page, which I’ll add to with lists of award winners, when I’m notified of results.
- But what about the fight? Aren’t you going to fight?
Reclaiming science fiction for ludic purposes is not a fight. Or rather it is, but not a fight against specific people. Even if a clique is holding an award captive, they’re a tiny part of the whole. The fight is to reclaim the culture, and to get over the new literary theory idea that novels have to be “socially relevant.” It was a bad idea when it took over in the twenties, it’s a bad idea now, and it’s destroying reading for enjoyment, which is bad for everyone who works in words. Also, possibly, for our polity, but that’s a post for another time.
- “But I want you and him to fight. I’m going to send you tweets where people at TOR call you a poopy head. I’m going to send you posts from the blogger that shall not be mentioned and tell you his plan is much better. I’m going to tell you the latest File 666 slander. You must care. It’s vitally important.”
And if you do that, particularly in PM, late at night, when I just went to facebook to announce I’ll be at a con next weekend, before I forget to let anyone know, I’m going to curse at you, your friends and your allies. And I’m going to stomp around the house wishing I had the power to reach through the computer and strangle you. And then I’m going to ignore you and go my merry way.
I’m not your monkey. This movement is not to amuse you. It’s a long-term movement in the cultural war. I don’t have time nor, despite my improved energy, patience to get involved in little petty squabbles. Tons of people are going to hate what I do, people on my side, people who think they’re on my side, and people who think I’m trying to lead a wave of unwashed into their hallowed precincts. Don’t care. I’m a libertarian. I want to be left alone, but I also don’t care what people do or by and large say about me. Oh, sure, there are things that will get me pissed off, like when the bright turnip thought she’d found traces of racism in my blog or pretended to, to score a hit.
- Which brings me to things that will piss me off: stop doing sh*t like claim I’m too sick to do this, or attributing the fact I just chewed your skanky behind up and down the street to my being ill or going crazy.
I’m not going crazy. My brain issues are in a place and of a type that MIGHT minimally affect my vision and MAYBE cause irregularities in my heartbeat. (MAYBE.) They don’t affect my thinking. In fact, the longer I am on hypothyroidal meds, the more my memory (the only part that was affected) is coming back, and is now almost normal, except I’m 54, not 30 some anymore. There is no other effect. Unless you’re my husband, and afraid I’ll pass out in the shower because my heart went wonky, my physical condition is none of your concern. Yes, I might need brain surgery in the future. The white matter thing might or might not recover. BUT none of it affects my emotions.
To the extent my emotions are affected, it is because I have more energy, and also because I’m not used to having more energy, so I’ve lost the habit of controlling myself. It hasn’t been needed for 20 years.
OTOH I saw Brad and Kate, who are MUCH nicer than I am, have this sort of rage too. It goes with the job.
But insinuating someone isn’t functioning properly because you think the Sad Puppies crown would look mighty nice on your pinhead is slimy, despicable, and WILL get me mad. Mad as in furious, not crazy. And now that I have more energy, who knows where my mad will lead me. Don’t try it on. (Also, Sad Puppies doesn’t have a crown. It’s more of a beanie hat.)The other caveat, if you need one, is that it’s a really bad idea to poke the Sarah in this phase of book finishing and when my deadline is somewhere behind me and I don’t want another book delayed, please G-d, no.
I always grow fangs and claws at this phase of the writing (No, ask younger son. “You threw a dictionary at my head for asking you a question. I was three.” In my defense, I have lousy aim. He was in no danger. But it served to send him scurrying down to daddy and leave me alone to write.) But now I have more energy for using those fangs and claws. Don’t do it. It’s not worth your life. Also, this entire year is booked end to end. You probably can tell what place of the book I’m in by this blog. But in any case, it might never be safe. And it is NEVER safe, let me assure you, to try to “Let you and him fight.” That is a good way to get your head ripped off your shoulders and get beaten to death with it. (Never mind, go with it.)And that’s all. I have a book to finish. I promise not to throw dictionaries. Most of you are very nice people anyway. I just thought you should know where I’m at and what is going on with both the book and SP5. Oh, yeah, and I’m not going mad maaaaaaaad, except that if this keeps getting repeated, I’ll go mad in the sense of furious.
I don’t want that. As entertaining as I’m sure it is to watch, I have a book to write.