What Really Matters


I can’t say much coherent — I’m doing laundry. Also need to hem up a dress and pick up dry cleaning — so I’m going to say something I realized in the last twenty four hours.  Which will strike some of you as very funny, because you have probably guessed, between the lines, what I’ve been wrestling with a long time, sometimes more or less in public.

But yesterday the dime dropped as I was looking at someone going through much the same thing, and I realized something finally, and with the kind of certainty you can’t deny.

When you’re mad (a little at yourself, too) and depressed, the thing that you threaten to give up or stop doing is that which is most important to you. An important part of you.

Say you always wanted to be the best tiddly winks player in the world (an ambition far better than wishing to be a writer. More attainable too) and you even managed to go pro, and make some money.  When the career falls through, not really because of your fault, but because tournaments are down and there are none in your area, you might view continuing to play at the local level, which you hear makes more money but are afraid won’t, as too much trouble.  You might say “well, it was a good run, and now I’m going to collect bottle caps and exhibit those for money.”  And it might even be true.  The matter is how you do it and what you mean.  If you’re saying it in cool mind and heart and you just walk away and start in on the bottle caps, then whistle as you go, you’re a free man.  But if you do it because there is no way out from where you are that you can see, and you’re afraid you’ll never make any money money off tiddlywinks again, and — most importantly — you are mad and depressed… You probably should go back to tiddlywinks, and find a way, by gum, to not only make it pay, but to make it WORK. Because that’s a part of you, an important part of you and that’s why, being depressed and mad at yourself you’re trying to excise it.  It’s kind of like a smaller (or perhaps bigger) way of committing suicide.

I have often said that my prom date should have realized I was in love with Dan, because I spent my entire prom running Dan down.  He was so fascinating, and it was so utterly annoying that he didn’t notice me (he says he did, but we were both 18 and stupid, so he was hiding it) that I felt compelled to tell my date how horrible Dan was. For three hours. Non stop.

I didn’t realize until yesterday that apparently it’s the same with vocations. The thing you can’t leave behind drive you insane in the same proportion it frustrates you.

You don’t bother thinking about and attacking impulses/activities/interests you aren’t that invested in. I have never, ever, threatened to stop rendering figures. I enjoy it well enough. And if for some reason I couldn’t do it tomorrow, I’d have to find someone to do my covers.  And that’s about it.

I do periodically, and gave it a real try this last year, try to give up writing.  I thought I didn’t want to do anymore.  But no one works that hard at denying what they no longer want.

So I guess I am what I am. I love what I love. I was born to do one thing.

And I’m going to do it. It’s going to be harder than hell, but that’s all I can do, so I’ll do it. (After this week. This week it’s clothes and packing and stuff.)


171 thoughts on “What Really Matters

  1. It may not surprise anyone to hear that there have possibly been times in my life when I was a wee bit angry depressed.

    There’s a thing I love, and have not been very successful at, and in hindsight “maybe I just suck at this worse than should be tolerated and must quit” is an example of what you describe.

  2. Bog standard self-sabotage. You might fail at what you care about, and that would hurt. But if you kill it, then you can never fail.

    Ages and ages and ages ago I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and via those subscription lists got invited to (pay for) a writing workshop being held in San Francisco someplace. (I went, it was fun, I liked it, I learned things, but not perhaps what the author/instructor intended.)

    I was young and nervous about sharing my baby with the world lest the world announce it ugly… so I described my WIP… Giant Alien Slug Monsters. The instructor chided me to write what I actually CARED about. I got all out of proportion mad about this advice because I CARED about Giant Alien Slug Monsters… or at least, all the themes and broken hearts of the humans having to deal with them. But to be fair, I had played those parts down. I didn’t expose them to ridicule or judgement because it was better, far far better, to have people turn up their noses at what I didn’t care about. So, I sort of “killed” those parts, at least in my description of what I was writing.

    I wouldn’t, today, do different though. I’m not sure what that means about me.

    1. just like the people who say “write what you know”:… well, if you read sci-fi and watch sci-fi and talk sci fi….

      (yes, i had an instructor at one point have a sudden facial expression like there was a tiny rock in her shoe after being told that, but she made no further comment.)

  3. Whew!

    …The proposals to quit writing were always remarkably unsettling, no matter how much I reminded myself it was your life and career to run as you chose, and even before I’d read very much of your fiction.

  4. I’m very angry and depressed right now as the band Gogol Bordello, their opening act, and a large number of fans made me feel something I honestly never have: I felt unsafe to go into the pit at a show.

    Am I going to give up going in? At the Masquerade probably, because they seem to think they need to take away ball-point pens because of risk of them being a weapon but “Punch Nazis” shirts are just fine.

    I know how I really want to get my aggression out now that I have lost my main way. I think sometime Sunday night crossing the line from hoping what I fear doesn’t happen and more than ready for it to happen because of the time honored tradition of using it as cover to settle scores.

    I also know until the balloon goes up I need to find an alternative. Maybe I’ll get back into SCA heavy fighting.

        1. I’d have to enter stark ass naked then. And even then they’d need to cuff my hands and feet. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going.

          The thing those Atlanteans don’t understand that there are no dangerous weapons (well, NBC weapons can be dangerous if they are old corroded or unshielded, but individuals rarely if ever carry them around), only dangerous people.

          1. I suspect the people making these signs are members of a species that rarely interacts with the real world called lawyers.

            1. Can’t wait for them to try to stop a disabled person from entering with a cane; can you say lawsuit?

          2. They have issues with that too. Just cannot please some folks..

            Naked passenger strolls onto tarmac at Chicago O’Hare
            This passenger seemed to get a little too comfortable before his flight.

            A naked male passenger was reportedly detained at Chicago O’Hare International Airport before boarding his flight, according to multiple witnesses.

            In a tweet of the incident, the unidentified man was filmed walking on the tarmac completely naked. Sources have shared that the man was attempting to board a flight departing from Chicago.

            The tweet, which was shared by ORD Airport Insider, also reported that the passenger was allegedly detained at Gate C10 at Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 1.

            According to the tweet, the naked individual had been attempting to board a Delta flight — though Delta did not confirm. Gate C10 services United flights.

            In a follow-up tweet, the man was seen being arrested by police on the tarmac. In the photo, the man appears to be wearing a safety vest around his waist.

            It is unclear how the man got onto the tarmac or when he got naked.

            Chicago police did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

            This is not the first passenger to attempt to board an aircraft in the nude this week. On Tuesday, a traveler passing through Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport reportedly claimed to be more “aerodynamic” while nude and shortly thereafter stripped off his clothes and attempted to board a Ural Airlines flight to Crimea.

            The man, identified as a Moscow-area resident born in 1981, had made his way through security at Domodedovo completely clothed, before getting naked sometime ahead of arriving at the boarding gate, according to the Moscow Times.

            1. I can’t decide whether I would be happier these days with everyone on a flight being naked (no possibility of smuggled weapons that TSA missed), or not (there might, or might not, be one on the entire flight that I would want to see naked).

              Sigh. Just what I needed, another conundrum to pick away at.

              1. Or the LN Smith alternative; make sure everyone on board *is* armed. Try hijacking a plane full of folk ready and able to shoot back. Like the old joke about the moron who tries to rob an off-duty cop bar . . .

        2. The persistence and stupidiy of the weapon grabbers never fails to leave me slightly breathless.

          I recall something Kipling wrote in FROM SEA TO SEA, about the prevalence of guns in the (then just barely extant still) American West. He was told that anyone who got shot was either somebody the community considered needed shooting, or the shooter would be shot “by the general sense of the room”.

          The hoplophobes never GET this. Except by random chance (or because you are in a coffee shop), the police (or other official armed representatives of The State) are never going to be Right There. Your fellow citizens are. If you have disarmed everybody who values public opinion, then nobody is in a position to shoot back when the ferals open fire/start stabbing/what-have-you.

          Our would-be Lords and Masters know it perfectly well. THEY will have official (or officially licensed) armed minions. But they live in fear of the day when enough of the ‘little people’ have had enough of their sh*t for them to get shot by “the general sense of the room”.

          1. In practice, used correctly, that kind of a ban is dealing with sheltered idiots.

            They SHOULD have learned that stabbing someone with a pen can 1) kill or maim, and 2) that is bad, but too many haven’t and it would suck to deal with it at an event.

              1. We ARE talking about a “movement” that thinks Nazis sit around peacefully waiting to be punched, and then never hit back.

                Remember how Moldylocks was shocked?

                    1. Search for the video, it is better.

                      She punched a guy who was only about half a head taller, while wearing (arguably deadly weapon) brass knuckles.

                      He rocked back, hooked his arm around on the way back and flattened her.

                  1. Proglodytes are big believers in equality, fraternity, liberty, tolerance, fairness, and transparency until it bites them — then they fall back upon their demands for the Privilege of the Enlightened.

                    As an old Marxist once said: We believe in Free Speech for all, but only for responsible speech.

    1. Golly woggles! I SO want a t-shirt emblazoned, “CAUTION: Nazis Punch Back, Twice As Hard”

      Perhaps with picture of Aryan Übermensch

      1. I won’t wear your suggested shirt because, despite progtards defining “Nazi” as “anyone who doesn’t agree with me” I am not a Nazi.

        1. Hmmm. I am nationalistic, as I think the U.S., as originally envisioned, beats the heck out of any government system, real or hypothetical, since then. Is that extreme nationalism? Or do I have to go around brownshirting people to be an extremist? Should I call myself a Na, instead of a Nazi? Would chemistry majors mistake me for the superhero known as Sodium? Would my symbol be a swastika with a not symbol superimposed on it?

          If I took all the meat off RES’s image, leaving nothing but bones, made him a supporter of communism, and a teller of amusing jokes and skits; would that make him Red Skeleton?

          1. I’m plenty extreme enough. I don’t need to be a national socialist for that.

            For one, when it comes time to settle scores if anyone is a parent the first rule is “never visit vengeance on the parent when you can visit it on the child instead” (and make the parent know you did it as vengeance on them).

            I guess that might be a bit extreme.

          2. Ooohhhh, Mike, that was horrible! Well done, sir. *Trots off to get fresh warhead for the ICBC missile system*

        2. Note that the shirt does NOT proclaim its wearer a Nazi, nor a supporter of such. It is merely warning</I. others that punching Nazis may not be as safe as they imagine.

          Wearing a shirt depicting Wile E Coyote falling into a canyon with the legend "Gravity For The Win" does not, to the thoughtful viewer, proclaim the wearer to be gravity or even an endorser of that force.

          Yeah, I know: the Venn diagram intersection of "thoughtful viewers" and "people wearing 'Punch A Nazi' shirts" is pretty much void.

          1. Well … dang. Please read prior comment as italics ending where the </I. appears. WPDE as it seems the alternative, me learning to a) type and b) proofread is not occurring this phase of the universe.

            As addendum to comment above, please note that the proposal was "in jest," as in "in jest for private amusement." I do not advocate actual rattling of cages in which possibly (probably) rabid animals are contained.

            I share the view of Peter's grandfather and hold in mind that sometimes the wolf will win.

      2. Anything with Nazi on it would upset innocent people who didn’t know what was going on or why, so probably not a good idea just to thumb noses at those who deserve it.

        And I agree they do deserve it.

        But other people don’t.

      3. “Real Nazis don’t wait to be threatened, much less punched.”

        “Real Nazis kill people, they don’t sit there waiting to be punched.”

      4. Unfortunately, the average person on the street is too pig-ignorant to get your point on ‘thoughtful’ t-shirts with other-than-leftie message. I got and wore (once) to work a shirt from JPFO that portrayed a heiling Hitler captioned ‘All who are in favor of Gun Control, raise your right hand.” Half my union brothers asked if I was some kind of Nazi and the rest shot me angry looks for the next couple of weeks.

        1. I was thinking about writing a blog post about the only time I think I have changed someone’s mind about something political on the Internet. I actually got someone who defended Che shirts to see why they were offensive.

          Now I am determined to do it.

          1. Darwin fish are offensive, too. It’s fine if someone doesn’t believe or think that evolution is very very important, but a darwin fish is essentially making a joke out of iconography associated with genocide. So, you know… prefer that people don’t do that.

            (The rainbow fish, though it will offend some, is at least thematically appropriate.)

            1. So fish are associated with genocide now?

              – TRX (falling behind in the iconography again)

    2. yeah, i had to duck out of some dissensions at my local venue because apparently Combichrist is now teh ebil among some goths because they made a tshirt that said bad things about AntiFa.

      1. Gogol Bordello went with “This mustache fights fascists” for their 20th anniversary tee shirt and let the opening act (which shares a member) hold an anti-Trump rally.

        That was Sunday and I’m still depressed about that. I have wanted to see them for years and kept missing chances. I figured 20th anniversary would be the show of the year for me.

        I watched what appeared to be an awesome floor for a bit then leaned against a wall and napped. No shirt, no moshing, no dancing, no holding up crowd surfers (including the led singer), and I didn’t even enjoy hearing the songs I wanted to hear.

        I didn’t think at my age I could be this heart broken about a concert.

        1. Yeah, i think some of these bands don’t get that the anti-trump ‘punch nazis’ is only a part of their fan base and there’s also a significant ex-mil portion too. A couple I can think of do actually understand and embrace this….

          *hoists his coldbrew for CPT Tamara Long, USAF*

          1. Have a friend we can’t facebook with because he is in the punk scene and deeeeeep undercover.

            It’s sad, but I wouldn’t want to screw with him making a living. (I gather such a thing is quite odd.)

          2. Yeah. I mean, I knew they had leftist politics and it is part of their music.

            I was still excited to and dance and sing along to others.

            Same as I did last year with Beans on Toast. Same as I did when Flogging Molly put out a few “Occupy” songs. So what? Most of the songs aren’t about that and are fun and they made the shows about fun and music and if they want to slip their beliefs in, hey, everyone has that right.

            It is when you move to aggressively saying, like “mainstream” SF/F, comic books, and other hobbies are actively saying, “You are not welcome” it begins to be a problem. Then, when it moves to “You are mass murdering criminals”, well, don’t expect me next time.

            1. yes, and some segments of the culture, and some musicians *are* actively moving into saying that, and thus can do without my money.

                1. Some artists think it a good thing to be come “more selective” in their audience.

                  Of course, if I am a producer considering Chris Evans for the lead in my $100 million blockbuster wannabe I just might consider a different actor who does care if he alienates half his my audience. Because that’s the point Chris is missing: he has no audience.

                  1. Except of course the producers and studios are as far to the left if not even farther than the acting talent in many cases. This is a factor as to why so many things they make are simply junk and tank so badly. Of course these days, the market they really care about is China, which is why they are so careful to comply with Chinese diktats regarding allowed speech and themes.

                  2. A Thing I have noticed is a lot of the old “ask a question to get the sound bite you want” tricks, and folks on the right who should be aware of this junk promoting it and trying to declare boycots/excommunicate anybody who doesn’t join in.

                    Hipster is bad enough on the left!

                  3. (So after the first 30 or so “you must be outraged, he didn’t fight for you!” things, I stopped listening. I find SJW tactics objectionable.)

                2. Ah, that’s sad… sounds like he has that same problem we see in so many leftist actors; they’re empty vessels (kinda goes with the job, fill it with a character) and any damn thing that drips in is what they suddenly believe. Wonder what they’ll have to say when the money swings back the other way….

          1. I think the real hurt is I now have to evaluate every show in this light before I decide to go. Sure, losing a favorite band because I was fired as a fan is one thing, but they are co-headlining with Flogging Molly later this year. Does that mean Dave and company no longer want me in the audience. How about Skinny Lister, who had the political Beans on Toast last year. Next time I see BoT on a bill can I think I’ll just kind of be quite while he does one of his socialist songs waiting for “MDMAmazing” to come up?

            I was mostly shrugging off the title of the new Within Temptation album, Resist and its first single, “The Reckoning”. Sharon den Adel said it was about “not being put in a box” and I believed that. Should I? I think I should as politics hasn’t torn up the metal scene (SJW entry-ism got curb stomped a few years back), but now I wonder.

            I’m angry and hurt that I have to add this filter. The left is winning more and more because they are forcing me to embrace their core idea of “the personal is the political.”

            1. It is probably no consolation to now that when I find similar problems I handle them by ignoring the artist’s meaning.

              For example, I often sing along with that song, but in a mocking, ironical tone. So what if he’s mocking me; I can mock his mockery. What the heck, it’s got a good beat, catchy lyrics and establishes the performer as an utter twit. If you cannot mock such effrontery where is joy in life?

              1. Oh, I happily do that.

                This was very different.

                When there is openly anti-Trump and conservatives are Nazis rhetoric going on with people in the pit wearing “Punch Nazis” tee shirts it isn’t about having fun with the songs despite the politics. It is a “do I get into a controlled violence situation with people looking for an excuse to do real violence against people like me”? Did they know I was a Trump voter? Not to my knowledge, but in that hostile a crowd I couldn’t take the chance.

                It was also, to use protard language, very othering.

                1. Believe me, growing up Jewish* I understand your situation. How do you think my sense of humour got so warped?

                  Knowing that there are plenty of people out there who would cheerfully beat you up or even kill you just because of who you are tends to make the eye jaundiced and the milk of human kindness taste on the verge of turning sour. OTOH, there are plenty of people who dislike me because they’ve met me, so there is that.

                  *Although I do not look Jewish, this can be a mixed blessing as it can result in people speaking their prejudice less guardedly in my presence.

                  1. That sucks.

                    It always makes me wonder, though. How often can that kind of thing come up in conversation? Why do people come out with these things, apropos of nothing? It is a mystery of evil. If it was not so serious that they are so obsessed with hate and paranoia, it would almost be funny how often they bring up their boring idee fixe.

            1. Yeah, I’m very disappointed in the recent crop of Kindergoths (demonstrated by denying them their good name, Babybats, for Kindergoth).

              1. been in the scene long enough that i consider kindergoths to be the group newer than the babybats.

                1. Hmmm, I’ve long (late 90s) used them interchangeably for goths too young to buy alcohol. That seemed to be the common usage in Boston bitd with kindergoth more of a “get over yourself” pretentious git while babybats were the fun kids you wished were your neice/nephew.

                  1. I always heard babybat in relation to any new young goth, and had only heard kindergoth more recently, so i associated it more with the newer crop, esp the ones that seem to have SJW leanings

                    the funny thing is, the discussion i eased myself out of was while in line to see Suicide Commando… sheesh.

            2. there are most definitely different ‘tribes’ within the goth communities, and they may or may not align with differing styles of music as well.

                1. Uh… I’ll let Herbn explain cybergoths vs. old-school goths vs. Victorians vs. rivetheads vs. ethereals vs…. I can just show you the separate subclasses of the music they listen to…

                  here have some darkwave.

                  (This is the example song I give people when they say all goth music is all depressing stuff about killing yourself. or Valkyrie….)

                  1. (I am amused you offer a song about dying as a counter, though. Not quite up there with Ghost for an unusual song or music video.)

                    1. I loves me some VNV Nation. Although they have moved on from this sound a bit and certain the anger, I suspect this will always be my VNV song (although the Lt. and the Captain would probably tell me it should be “Honor” from the same album, but that isn’t angry enough)

                      So why do I love when I still feel pain?
                      When does it end, when is my work done?
                      Why am I lone and why do I feel that
                      I carry a sword through a battlefield?

                    2. mine has to be Illusion.

                      or, just sometimes, Beloved.

                      but now when single. I need someone to sing it to.

                    3. In the late 90’s, I was handed a copied CD from the dance floor, that the DJ had burned with his own mixes. In order to save space and squeeeeeze everything on the CD, he’d cut out all identifying track information, and still it just barely fit the music files. (Until newer, more capacity CD’s came out, it was a real… challenge to copy that thing.)

                      The DJ has disappeared into the mists of time, no trace on the internet, and the files? It took 5 years to track down all the original songs. VNV Nation, Soil & Eclipse, Fiction 8, Apoptygma Bezerk, Stromkern, Funker Vogt, Velvet Acid Christ, God Module, The Machine In The Garden, Gary Numan, Information Society, and Faith & The Muse, mixed seamlessly with sound clips from the really short-lived Vampire: The Masquerade TV show.

                      That’s still the touchstone for me – because those were things that popped up on the dance floor and had me working my way to the DJ booth with “Dude! Dude! What the hell was that song, because awesome!”

                      Then I moved to interior Alaska, where the scene was pretty much nonexistent; it was just friends hanging out at houses, bonfires, and goth night was held maybe once every other month at the local gay bar (okay, there were two gay bars, but the other one was pure meat market; the one that held goth night was much more welcoming and amused at the other oddities coming through their doors to dance.) There just weren’t enough of us to make a financially viable scene, so we were decoration for theme nights for the bar, really.

                      Though I still remember fondly when the bartender looked up and said, “What in the world are they doing?”
                      “Waltzing, sir. Ballroom dance? You can do it to electronica if the beat’s right, because 120 beats a minutes is just a multiple of 3/4 time.”
                      “Well, aren’t you sweet things just the most decorative… we should bring you in more often, to brighten the place up.”
                      “Call it darken the place up and everybody’d enthusiastically agree, sir.”

                    1. somehow I knew you would.

                      the funny thing about the glitter goth one is they usually have the wide irises too.

                    2. Oh, yeah, the irises are dead on. Much like the writers on the three South Park episodes, the people who made these know their goths.

                    3. Hmm my black cat vibrates between three of the Goth States, Old School Goth, Sparkle Goth, and Metal Goth. The transition to Metal goth occurs when you touch his tummy in Sparkle Goth state :-).

                    4. My black cat (Ashbutt “Floof” DieselThroat) looks like a fancy dress goth, but has the personality of a laid-back surfer dude. With mosh-pit tendencies, especially toward the older cat, and occasional desire to do parkour runs through the house. (Kili will jump on top of the couch. Ashbutt will barrel out of the kitchen at full speed, run along the back of the cough perpendicular to the floor, and springboard himself into the hall.)

                    1. Thanks for the DJ stuff! Informative.

                      I totally missed all that. Old school Celtic, traditional folk ballads, opera, bluegrass, and filk were my things, mostly because amplified music tended to overload my hearing. (Especially high notes on electric guitars.)

      2. Good for them. Of course this is the same band that entitled their 2017 tour “Make Europe Great Again”.

  5. I’m no longer talking to you. At least, not until Monday, when I expect pitchers of Groom, Bride, floral arrangements, venue, and cats.

    I expect I will have an assortment of rude things to say to other Huns in the interim, but I expect you to stop hanging about with disreputable (at best!) characters and get roaring drunk attend to your duties as Mother of the Groom.

    BTW: if the guy getting married is “the groom” does that mean the gal getting wed is “the nag”?

    1. if the guy getting married is “the groom” does that mean the gal getting wed is “the nag”?

      Hopefully not, but in too many cases yes.

      Best modern way to avoid marrying a nag is to avoid marrying a feminist (self-proclaimed or by actions such as a Hillary bumper sticker).

        1. Having edited one of her books I can say that I know her intimately, for some very narrow definition of that word. And no she is not a nag, but a very well mannered and gracious young lady who I am convinced would horse whip you to within an inch of your life should you threaten those whom she holds dear.
          As for herself, bout damn time you woke up my little Portagee. And I mean that in the true and finest meaning of woke, not the bull pucky the left have turned it into.

    2. And here I thought the distaff side of that equation was simply ‘bride’. Did I miss something somewhere?

        1. Yep. I confess: my mind wandered into wondering how the same word came to appear in both usages.

          Now I am wondering whether Bride has the same etymological root as Bridle.

          1. Well, if you have a nag a bridle is useful.

            Although the one woman I knew who was put in a scold’s bridle was still allowed to text.

          2. They both, if you believe Etymonline, come from an old english (via proto germanic) word meaning ‘boy or youngman’ which was also used in the term of page/squire/servant etc. That second is where the ‘tends horses’ comes from. The first was paired with the term for ‘young woman to be married’ (a word with fuzzy ancestry past the old german.) to indicate ‘suitor’. Then shortened in later times causing confusion.

            Bridle on the other hand comes from the protogermanic word for ‘to braid’ through a few iterations in old English meaning ‘to restrain’.

        2. Aaargh! Normally I woulda caught that. I plead first day of allergy meds*. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket!

          *It seems the local trees have decided it’s time to start a-poppin’.

      1. Let’s face it Bob: “Polite enough” to you* is such a low bar that getting under it would require an entrenching tool.

        *Or nearly any Hun.We need not get into what constitutes polite enough to me as that bar would entail a back hoe. Anything short of fisticuffs or throwing drinks in my face (which is more a matter of rudeness to the liquor) is probably polite enough to me.

        1. I feel it is horribly rude when people lie to me, when the lie is one that less than a minute of introspection will see through. The combination of a mad personal sense of etiquette and only intellectually understanding that other people can have very different sorts of minds means that my social expectations are often unmet.

          You discuss interesting subjects, you don’t try to pass falsehood as truth, and when you joke your tongue is so firmly and obviously in cheek that I am rarely confused. I personally could stand to better differentiate my jokes, my trolling, my devil’s advocacies, and my genuinely fringe policy preferences.

          1. Granted, a non-credible lie is an insult grave. Nobody wants to be treated like he’s Montel Williams.

            Det. John Munch: You’re saving your really good lies for some smarter cop, is that it? I’m just a donut in the on-deck circle. Wait until the real guy gets here. Wait until that big guy comes back. I’m probably just his secretary. I’m just Montel Williams. You want to talk to Larry King.

            Bernard: I’m telling you the truth.

            Det. John Munch: I’ve been in murder police for ten years. If you’re going to lie to me, you lie to me with respect. What is it? Is it my shoes? Is it my haircut? Got a problem with my haircut? Don’t you ever lie to me like I’m Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams.

            Bernard: Who’s Montel Williams?

            Det. John Munch: I’m not Montel Williams.

    3. “I’m no longer talking to you. At least, not until Monday, when I expect pitchers of Groom, Bride, floral arrangements, venue, and cats.”

      I second the notion that if you totally disappear for a week, we will all still exist and be waiting for you. And a vacation isn’t a vacation if you don’t, you know, VACATE. So… at the very least, please and with love from all of us, take an actual break to enjoy (or avoid, as the case may be) relatives and a change of scenery and the wedding of your first born son.


      1. Yes, this! Do go vanish for a week or so, enjoy the event and then rest afterward, THEN tell us about the happy days!

        Please! ^o^ Enjoy! Nothing would make me happier (and I hazard, most of the regulars here share that sentiment!)

    4. And just how (more to the point why) would one put the groom and bride in a pitcher?

      Floral arrangements, maybe. The cats would object clawfully. I don’t know about the venue; is it floodprone?

    5. Yes, Sarah, please do what you need to do to prepare for the big day, and then eat, drink and be merry and have lots of fun. We will still carry on, um, carrying on.

  6. Forgot to check the thingy.

    Joesky tax (writer form): In 2025 those who only occasionally use their cortex figure the way to stop global warming is to force a huge bloom of algae by iron seeding the oceans and pull carbon out of the atmosphere. Now, in 2500 after civilization collapse a new ice age is coming.

    1. Of course the algae bloom will also oxygen starve the oceans and kill most of the fish. Then again the environmental damage done by mining for rare earths to create all those solar panel firms, the millions of scorched birds, and all the pollution caused by disposal of the used solar panels apparently is not relevant to the global warming alarmist crowd. Never mind coal will still be needed to make all the steel to make all the wind-farms and solar panel farms, and petroleum will still need to be refined to make all the rubber tires, lubrication oil, plastic and all the other stuff that modern society uses, even if none of it is used to fuel cars, etc. This only makes it clear that the real purpose of the left has nothing to do with protecting environment, but rather it has to do with gaining power over other people and in undoing the industrial revolution because “existence of people is bad”. I.E., they are flat out insane,.

      1. Will no one think of the dolphins?

        Toxic algae has dolphins developing Alzheimer’s: study
        It’s time to build a nursing home in Florida — for dolphins.

        A large number of the sea mammals who have been stranding themselves on the beaches of the Sunshine State are showing signs of an ailment all too common in people — Alzheimer’s disease.

        Researchers at the University of Miami have found the kind of plaque and abnormalities that cause human Alzheimer’s in the brains of the dead dolphins from Florida and Massachusetts.

        In their paper published in the journal PLOS, researchers linked exposure to harmful algal blooms and the BMAA toxin it produces with the misfolding of brain proteins.

        The findings come after 150 dead dolphins washed up in Florida after an outbreak of toxic red algae in August 2018. The scientists couldn’t say if the Alzheimer’s is why they stranded themselves.

        [END EXCERPT]

    2. There’s your problem- you people are actually THINKING about the problem, and bring in facts and stuff! Stop that!
      It’s all about the feels and good motives and being morally right than your racist cis-male “facts” & stuff.

  7. I quit, in my 20’s. Both painting and drawing and writing. Because everybody kept telling me that it was no way to make a living. That sure, you could do both as a hobby, but don’t even dream of either as a way to make a living. Sensible advice, I guess, but as I didn’t get much encouragement in any other ways either, I don’t think anybody much ever told me that I had a talent for either, or that what I made was any good, I quit them as a hobby too. Add to that the fact that I didn’t want to make what artists and writers were supposed to make, something commenting on the society and making people think of the important issues. What I wanted was to make something beautiful, and fun.

    So I quit doing. But I never got rid of the desire to do.

    And now I probably don’t have the time to become anywhere near as good as I could have been if I had been practicing both for those decades I didn’t. I might have been able to become rather decent, at least.

  8. Go have some fun Sarah. Mother’s of the Groom mostly just need to show up and cry. Or so I’ve heard. 😀

    Heck, I drank enough at my #2 son’s wedding dinner that I even stood up and made a speech. In English. To about 60 of his new Taiwanese in-laws who didn’t speak it.

    1. LOL! My first wife was from Mexico. We did have speeches (in English), when quite a few on the bride’s side didn’t speak English, but the REAL embarrassing thing was the food at the reception. It seems, my Father (and quite a few others) had never seen authentic tamales… wrapped – as they commonly are – in corn leaves.

      Shortly after the dinner started, I heard a distinctive crunch crunch crunch, and a whispered “How are we supposed to eat these things?”

  9. I have often said that my prom date should have realized I was in love with Dan, because I spent my entire prom running Dan down.

    That must have been some date! But I wonder if he didn’t figure it out. In retrospect, anyway.

  10. Yay for not quitting. Yes, it’s frustrating as hell, and we ‘normally’ suffer alone, but know you’re loved and we love your writing! Hang in there Sarah!

  11. BTW, you cannot quit writing and going indie. Some of us are relying on you for mentorship in both those things. 🙂

  12. Go forth and watch your son get married. Eat, drink, and be merry, for come Monday you’ll be able to say to Blake, “You married him! No takebacks! Your problem now!” 😛

    1. My dad’s comment at our wedding … well to be fair he said it at all three of our weddings (all girls), to our grooms. For some reason the grooms parents went with the same program to us girls. “The warranty ended at ‘I do’. All yours.”

      Hey. Guess it worked. Marriages this last fall, from youngest to oldest, have lasted: 30, 35, and 40 years.

      Go forth and enjoy the secular wedding. Lots of pictures expected. Take some time off and enjoy yourself and your family.

  13. At this moment, I have “Uncharted” sitting just behind me. Still in the Amazon bag; I’ll open it when I deserve a reward for getting writing work done myself.

    You’re at least halfway up the mountain, Sarah. If I can’t quit, looking up from the base (or maybe the crevasse at it’s foot), you can’t either.

  14. I’ve been considering quitting music, in part because I’m not singing in one of two concerts this spring (combined vocal rest with Arrrrrrrrrghhhhhh!!!!! stress at Day Job). However, I will be singing the “big piece” in April.

    Now, if I can only convince my body and voice to act as if they are 35 instead of [redacted], and keep up the act through mid May of 2020… *Sigh* Beethoven 2020 – Just Surviving is to Triumph. (This year and next are a major Beethoven anniversary, with lots and lots of concerts, festivals, et al.)

    1. Hope there are some of those events around here in NJ. I like Beethoven (says the person who routinely posts videos of thrash metal bands like Megadeth and Metallica). Of course I like pretty much everything except country and opera, although I do like some choral stuff, like 4th movement of Beethoven’s Ninth, some of the stuff Bach did, etc..

    2. Kid’s chorus teacher has decided, for reasons known only to himself, to inflict “O Fortuna” on a class of seventh and eighth graders. I am somewhat boggled, but watching her claw her way to where *she’s* kicking *its* butt instead of the other way around has been most enjoyable.

  15. Well, assuming this is accurate in my situation, great timing.
    Been throwing my hands in the air about homeschooling. (Basically, more kids for friends.)

    Elf pointed out they like people BECAUSE we homeschool, but oh well.

  16. Here’s something that has been bothering me lately. I have had a lot of vocations in my life that were more successful than writing. Lately with losing a friend and editor, I’ve wondered if I’m fooling myself in thinking that I have an avocation as a writer.

    1. Your success in writing and in other endeavors is not an apples and apples comparison. You’ve done a lot of different things, a wide range of industries and economic conditions. Modern day writing is probably one of the more screwed up industries you have been involved with.

      Do you have a true vocation? That is not a question you answer based solely on the data. If you want to answer based on data, ask a different question. If you want an answer about vocation, that involves things beyond the data. You know that some of the health conditions you manage will lie to you using those things beyond data.

      I have myself heard depression tell me that the data is that I’m no good, and no good at this, try something else. The depression lies. I may yet prove that I’m no good at it, but I owe myself not to talking myself out of it simply because of fear, sadness, and stress.

      I’ve found that you explain things clearly, and that you observe and understand the world well. Maybe you and I have not spoken much directly, but I do remember what you have said to us in the past.

      What banshee said, very much.

      1. Yea– the meds and the diseases are not my friend. They also interfere with the writing. Plus I had insomnia last night… Thanks for the support. I will re-read this again.

    2. Just an update: I’ve been thinking through the reasons I seriously thought I should give up writing. I finally came to the conclusion that I need to redefine success. I’ve been thinking in terms of readers and selling. I need to go back to writing and writing more. My reward is the feeling I get when I am finished with another story. As my grandfather would say, “the rest is gravy.” Thanks for the encouragement.

  17. “Only where love and need are one
    And the work is play for mortal stakes,
    Is the deed ever really done
    For Heaven and the future’s sakes.”

    – Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time

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