Looking In

Now you’ve done it. You’re going to have to send a rescue party to Plato’s cave. I hope you’re happy.

Actually, I hope you’ll indulge me while I work through some stuff, in public (because why not) and maybe, perhaps it will help someone.

The proximate causes of this post are two: My younger son has been practicing psychoanalysis without a license. To be fair to him, he only practices it on me. (And it’s facilitated by the fact he’s male clone, so he knows how my mind works.)

This morning, while lying in bed, I realized this entire GoFundMe experience is one of the turning points of my life. Which probably sounds really weird to the rest of you, and is really hard to explain, but I’m going to try.

There are inflection points in life. Things that happen, and after that, you’re never ever the same.

Some of mine are remarkably obvious, of course. Or are they?

There was coming tot he US as an exchange student. There was moving here. There was marrying Dan. There was having the kids….

Except that those are obvious and “things that happened” but not the real inflection points. Those either came earlier or “in the process of” and changed me, so other things COULD happen.

Like, I think the real inflection point while I was an exchange student came while driving past miles and miles of forest in Pennsylvania (they shipped me to my host family in Ohio via Greyhound) and realizing everything the media had fed me about America and the world in general (overpopulated/overpoluted, etc) was wrong. THAT changed me forever.

The inflection point on marrying Dan came earlier, when he proposed, and I realized someone really, really loved me, enough to propose when he hadn’t seen me in person for four years. I mean I was in love with him, but it never occurred to me it was mutual. And that changed my view of myself forever.

The inflection point on coming to America actually came when I went through citizenship ceremony. I’d decided, and gone through the process, but it was ALL intellectual. Then I came home, and went to the mailbox to get the mail. And suddenly it hit me, HARD, that I belonged. I had a country. And it was the first time I realized that for years (probably since adulthood) I hadn’t really thought of myself as Portuguese/belonging in Portugal. The feeling of belonging was strong enough it almost brought me to my knees, and I was drying on the driveway of a suburban house in Charlotte, NC, because I was no longer expatriate.

Think of it as your own, personal highlight reel of “this is your life.” Not what other people see, or would identify, but what you know changed you inside fundamentally.

In the same way, having the boys changed us, over time, in the last 30 years, but the defining moment was holding tiny #1son, blinking at me in the afternoon light (I slept 24 hours after delivering him. Or perhaps was in a comma. It’s hard to tell. And birth was pretty hard on both of us) and suddenly it hit me: this person is mine to look after his every need for the next 18 years. I need to grow up. And my life will never, ever, ever be the same again.

It hit me this morning the GoFundMe was that sort of moment, and I’ll explain.

But first, what younger son has been on me about: He’s been yelling that I need to value my time and my special abilities. Now, maybe this is because I dragged him through hell along with me. (The house is now up for sale, and while I’m not putting a link here, because I don’t want to invite vandals — who would have issues with Marines on either side, anyway, but I don’t want the boog to start in my house — I’ve shown it to friends who have been in the house, and the general reaction is “Dear Lord, you guys REMADE the place from the inside out, didn’t you?) Perhaps this is self-defense. He’s told me from now on I’m retired from the house-remodeling business, and anything (oh, half a dozen, like putting SOME covering on the stairs) that needs to be done in this house besides unpacking I should hire out. He’s also told me that my default position is “this needs doing, I’ll do it” and that needs to change. He says I need to value my time as a writer and my skills as a writer and blogger, and respect those, and learn to pay other people to do things.

He’s not wrong. And he’s probably NOT just trying to get out of doing it, since he’s intending to move out in the next couple of months, which means he won’t be available.

He says it’s a tweak that’s broken in my mind, probably because for years and years my worth to the household was how much I did (physically) to get stuff done that otherwise would cost us money. So stuff like rebuilding the house, but also cooking, cleaning, making curtains, reupholstering furniture, etc. Because you know for years and years no one was buying my writing, so it was obviously — in my head — low value.

As for the blog, well, I started it because a very misguided agent told me I should do it for publicity. It didn’t work that way, because I was deep in the political closet and was traditionally published, which meant I couldn’t talk about how corrupt and messed up the business was, and I had minor children, so I didn’t want to identify them or post their pictures, and– Anyway — it meant I couldn’t talk about any stuff that was important to me.

Oh, I could post “writers’ tips” but blogs for writers are self-limiting in audience. And anyway– So I didn’t write but like two blogs a month. I was told to go to Twitter and FB too, but I found it mostly annoying.

But agent kept insisting I blog every day, which meant I came out of the political closet, and dropped her and– where were we?

Anyway, by the time I dropped the agent, I had this community, and I write mostly for you guys who comment. Some days I go “I wonder what so and so (okay, often, but not always RES…) will say about this thought I had!” And lately I write to say “Okay, I’m hearing such bullshit someone needs to shout sanity, even if no one is listening, or not enough people.”

But I haven’t thought about it as helping others — yes, you guys told me, but I thought you were just being nice — or something worthy of being rewarded, which is why I’ve resisted fundraisers and such. Until I was in trouble and couldn’t see any other way out.

…. It’s going to take a while to process.

I haven’t read the comments yet. I’ll do it this afternoon, after I figure out how to break into my own GFM and get money out (what? Oh, it’s a process, and I just need to prove I’m me, and the account is mine, but you guys have to understand my reaction — normal reaction — to what I’ll call cyberbureaucracy is to run and hide, because I’m so bad at it. Like, upload the wrong thing. Or get such a bad scan of my license they think it’s fake, or — the current panic attack — can’t remember if I have my full legal name on my bank account. So I’ll have to take a deep breath, and brave it. And if I fail, Dan will do it tonight. BUT it’s on the list because otherwise I’ll try to avoid it.) The fact that I’m terrified of hearing nice things — my friends tell me they’re all nice — about myself should tell me something too. I THINK it feels like I’m impersonating someone else. Or like they can’t be really talking about me. Like when you get a birthday gift meant for someone else.

And yes, realizing that place is broken and doesn’t make sense, is the beginning of fixing it. It will take time, because the denial is so absolute.

However, BGE saying he wouldn’t have survived the Covidiocy mentally intact without this blog made my jaw drop.

Look, I’m not discounting blogs in general. I dedicated A Few Good Men to my boss at instapundit for all the years when he kept me from going crazy. Particularly while I was in the political closet. It was just THIS little blog, with my ranting and musing. Really? It made THAT much difference?

It made me think anew about this thing I do. And the fiction writing too. And that maybe younger son has a point.

BUT mostly — mostly? — I have this feeling that somehow everything has changed. That from now on everything will be different, because I’ll be different.

I’m not quite sure how yet, but it feels like a good change. Like, I’ll be able to “grow into myself” and fill my own outlines.

Which is weird. And I can’t explain.

But knowing what I’m doing matters, and matters for SO MANY PEOPLE has tweaked something deep inside me.

It will work itself out, like a piece of shrapnel, likely. Next thing you know, I’ll be outside raking leaves, and it will hit me, and I’ll cry like a baby, and confuse the neighbors. And then over years something will change.

Right now? Thank you for putting up with my spelunking in Plato’s cave.

You’ve given me just about enough courage to break into my own GFM. Things like that… Knowing I matter, and people have been helped, and …. just having a financial cushion so I don’t need to do everything myself (uphill, both ways) will make a difference over time. I just have to get used to it. The back brain is remarkably obtuse, and it takes time for it to get a new idea. But we’ll get there. The moment of blowing up the old one has happened, so now it’s possible.

Again, I’ll leave it up till — calculates — the 16th. Not because I’m greedy, but because I was specifically asked by some people who don’t get paid till then and would like to “play” (and again I’m not sure how this is play, but fine. I DO get people are enjoying themselves. I don’t have to understand HOW.)

There will be more stuff soon, including a free short story and the release of Odd Tales, the short stories I did here before.

For now, I’m going to shamble into the shower (don’t judge me. There was a cat who wouldn’t let me get up) and tackle the cyberbureaucracy dragon.

Again, thank you. I’m confused. Fundamental parameters of my life have changed, and I’m not even sure how yet.

And I have you to thank for it.

And I do. More than I can tell.

316 thoughts on “Looking In

  1. Somewhere I got this idea that to live we must grow and when we don’t grow we are dead.

    Keep on Growing Sarah. 😀

    1. The purpose of life is to grow and reproduce. If you’ve stopped doing both, chances are you’re already dead, or soon will be. Hence the admonition to find or do something new every day.

    2. “Only those who do not move do not die, but are they not already dead?” Jean Behra, Formula 1 race car driver, killed in a car crash, 1959 driving a Porsche.

  2. I find it’s helpful to understand other people’s mentality on this subject by remembering how much pleasure I got, when I was flush with wealth (in a relative way to someone else) and was able to do something nice for them. When I was newly employed after college, and my still-looking-for-a-job friend couldn’t afford to go out to eat, taking them to dinner. When some artist was trying to repair a broken printer and I could give them money to help out. The glee you feel getting someone the perfect present, or being able to tell someone ‘that thing you really want to do? Here’s the money, go do it.’ And then watching them succeed. Even minor things, like being able to leave a $5 tip on a $1 coffee because the barista’s having a hard time.

    That joy, that’s what they mean when they say they want to play.

    When you add that to the energy of a big gathering of people doing the same thing, it’s even better. Like big party energy, and everyone is celebrating, and you’re part of it. That’s one of the best parts of human life, right there.

    1. I’m finally getting to a space where I can share some of that joy, and it is wonderful. Oh, my student loan balance doesn’t bear thinking on, but so long as housing inflation is rising faster than my interest rate, I now at least have an asset I could sell to pay them off. But my cash flow is sufficient that I can do things like fill up the gas tank for someone stranded on the highway or chip in to help one of my three favorite living authors. (David Weber and Timothy Zahn being the other two.)

      We don’t just want to help you; seeing how happy you are with our help makes us happy.

      1. :waves wildly:

        Was worrying about you the other day, in that vague “I haven’t seen her for a while” way.

        Glad you’re a’right.

        1. Can’t complain too much. Bought a house from the dad of a certain obnoxious libertarian mutual acquaintance and living in Charlotte, and doing a lot of home remodeling. (Seriously kids, don’t smoke.) Pictures:

          Bathroom Remodel https://imgur.com/gallery/A5pizhG

          Kitchen Phase 1 https://imgur.com/gallery/6SChUTw

          Laundry Room Remodel https://imgur.com/gallery/38YQZP6

          Craft Room Remodel https://imgur.com/gallery/lwH6zRD

          The purchasing for Kitchen remodel Phase II is underway, thanks to an inheritance.

          Still barren, but I have a nephew and a godson now. Though I’m not likely to see the latter any time soon, as I suggested to his mom that she needs some serious mental health help. She completely “disproved” my point by telling me I couldn’t understand the pressure she was under to have a second child because I have an excuse for not having kids, snarking that if I were a real friend I wouldn’t suggest such crazy things like she needs help, and then storming out of the house to pout for six hours while her husband worried and sobbed. The only things I regret are introducing her to her husband and excusing previous incidents of her emotional abuse. I know she has had serious trauma in her past, but that’s no excuse for taking it out on other people.

          Got laid off in March, but now working from home for one of the big banks headquartered here investigating potential money laundering.

          Up to three cats again: Bagherra, Baloo, and Khan. They are the Worst Mousers Ever. https://imgur.com/gallery/5cBkcKE

          1. Wow, that reaction is *way* over the line– especially since part of the JOB of a godparent is to tell folks that kind of stuff.

          2. Great work on the remodeling! I’ve been wondering how I can open an pseudonymous account so I can link to photos of stuff I’ve been doing on my house.

            1. Thanks.

              I set up the account because some subs on Reddit don’t allow direct photo uploads. r/homeimprovement is one.

          3. I love seeing your remodel! If you’re on MeWe, we have a renovation group – Hoyt’s Huns Home Destroyers. It’s mainly me posting on my remodel, but others do chime in here and there.

        2. I have a longer reply caught in the filter, but the short version is not bad. If you want to see pictures of my home remodeling (that being the only interesting thing I do), look for Probonoh on Imgur.

          1. It came through via the email system!

            I wouldn’t have believed someone could make a laundry room look nice AND functional…. and I totally would’ve gotten bitten by that mouse, because the second you grab ’em by the tail, they suddenly remember how to move. -.-

    2. Yes. What I was about to say – but probably said better. I had to wait until today myself to send anything, but just seeing this fund in less than three hours, and still keep going up… THAT brightened up my entire week. I’m still stoked, as a matter of fact.

      Had errands and a bunch of household tasks to do today, but I think that this weekend is going to be a good weekend to get back in gear on the word production.

    3. My problem is I keep a running tally of favors in my head; and I become uncomfortable when I haven’t done what I consider my fair share.

      1. Same.

        And yes, I know it’s a bad habit, folks don’t need to TELL me that– like most bad habits, it’s defensive, just MOSTLY not my generation!

    4. Oh, yes. I meant to say: I don’t know which of you loonies ate at the Red Robin near Denver, when Husband, self and younger son were in.
      This was…. two months ago?
      When we went to pay, waiter pointed to large table, and said “They paid. THey said they recognized you,” Pointed at me. “And thank you for the blog.”

      AFTER the day we’d had, that made me cry. But I didn’t pay attention to the table (Mom, dad, at least four kids and perhaps a baby) so I don’t know which of you it would be.

    5. This. I like to do things like paying for dinner, chipping in to help somebody out, all that. It doesn’t even have to involve money. My college group of friends have done things like “Hey, go call so and so. She needs to hear from us.” It is a great feeling.

    1. Yes! The Hoyt Historical Society! 😀

      “This is the house where she wrote Other Rhodes.”
      Today, every child in America is born $89,000 in debt.

  3. No thanks necessary, as long as your get the trilogy of the century written, published and out in hard cover in the next week, we’ll all still love you. -grin-

    1. That’s the one that starts with “Jump, the mirror said” and I think it’s at least four books. And it’s SF. (Well as much sf as Nine Princes In Amber.)

      1. *raises eyebrow* Still counts, you know. SF is a big tent by definition. I’m trying to get by on four big lies (energy production, energy storage, gravity manipulation, and FTL by way of warp gates). Better authors than me have gotten by with only one. Write the books and we shall read them.

        1. I’m currently on two big lies – terraforming in a hurry, if not all over and perfectly (I can’t lie that well, not even to myself), and jump gates.
          I thought the second was going to be a passing mention. It’s um, becoming less so.

          Anyway! Any time I start thinking SF has to be as it currently mostly is, I go read some Jack Vance and Andre Norton and H Rider Haggard…
          …because What If?

          1. What if indeed! I have to discipline myself to two hours of world building at a time- no more- otherwise the writing would never get done.

          2. About lies and SF. IMO an SF writer’s job is to be a visionary, not a scientist. Not that plausible isn’t OK or that implausible isn’t wrong. Vagueness is good for SF. Ask all the folks who invented and made the cell phone what it is because they watched Star Trek TOS and wanted a damned communicator! You think flip phones were an accident? Give the future what you want, and leave the details to the scientists you inspire to make it so. How does the transporter work? As a writer, I don’t care. I just know it’s damn wasteful to use rocket fuel constantly for launching and landing to deliver cargo and people. So I say it’s true and let the fans make it happen. Thank God Elon Musk read The Man Who Sold the Moon. Did he build a rail-gun on Pike’s Peak? No, but he read the important parts about how to make commercial space happen.

            I recently revised a story I wrote in 1979 that eerily echoed our experiences in 2020, but I had to go back and make the tech more vague–dropping the specifics about CRTs (no, not Critical Race Theory you ignorant haters! Cathode Ray Tubes) and a few other things that seemed logical extensions to high tech back in ’79, but were long since made obsolete. I think world building is more about how people relate to the technology of the future rather than how the technology works. Think The Stars my Destination. Teleportation just happens, but what it means to society is what matters.

            If you want your vision to be important, don’t be specific, be aspirational!

            1. I always wonder if the people who made the Newton and the Palm Pilot had read The Mote In God’s Eye.

        2. Lessee…. FTL starships, gravity control, telepathy.

          Yep, I’m tellin’ some whoppers. 😀

            1. Collapsed hydrogen, if you must know. Hydrowavium. Okay, so that’s just a little bitty whopper…. we almost have fusion on Earth, right? Okay, well, over there in the sun…

              …the bigger whopper is the carrier wave/field/mumble that engines and telepathy rely on, but it’s probably just gravity with a funny haircut. Or maybe cosmic radiation’s upscale cousin. 😛

              1. Or you’re snagging energy from an alternate dimension with a higher energy state, ZPE, unobtanium or something. Efficient energy generation and more stable and dense energy storage are arguably more revolutionary than almost anything else but FTL itself. That’s why I always go for those two first. They get us the solar system! *grin*

                1. Heat rejection. Or more generally thermodynamics, but where to *put* all that waste heat is the one a lot of SF ignores is unaware of. Even The Expanse as good as it is ignores the subject.

                  1. Climbers, by David Drake. One of the plot points involves crew members having to deal with the heat they are no longer slowly radiating but holding on to in order to keep their ship “stealthy.” That’s one of the reasons I went with power generation- going away from the heat and rotary force -> electrical power model means I get to play with different problems.

                    Still technically involves heat, but a core tap devours heat to keep it open and operational. When it doesn’t get enough heat, it starts leaching it from the environment and anything connected to it. Brittle metal tends to break when shaken, and the machinery of life in space causes vibration, no matter how well dampened. The slight delay between the heat sinks shattering and the field opening closing means you can get massive hull breaches in seconds.

                    Add this to energy state storage which is really just tiny bombs in really stable (but not *perfectly* stable) containers and you can have lots of fun with battle damage. *grin*

                    1. If you don’t think lithium batteries are tiny bombs in (not perfectly) stable containers, you haven’t been paying attention. 😛

                      The ‘Climbers’ I remember were stealth ships in book 2 of the Starfishers trilogy. Shadowline? I think that was it. I don’t think it was in book 3, Stars End.
                      “That’s the most diverse bunch of RACISTS!! I ever saw.”

                    2. Well, yes they are. That’s where I go the idea from, actually. That, and looking at lithium ion electric car batteries and going ‘Nope!’ Now imagine the energy of tens of thousands of lithium ion batteries in an energetic crystal matrix undergoing a cascade failure. But they can hold nearly the equivalent an exabyte of memory that doesn’t degrade with read/write operations! So of course everybody uses them. Well that and they aren’t subject to damage from electromagnetic flux during FTL. But that’s part of the story of the Exile Fleet, which hasn’t been written yet.

                      As for the Climbers, I think I remember them being in Starfishers 4: Passage at Arms. I think they mentioned them earlier in the series, but it was in passing. It’s been over a decade since I read it, so I might be completely mistaken, though.

                    3. Both Ringo’s Vorpal Blade and another series by a guy named Hunsinger (Think Patrick O’Brian Aubrey / Maturin instead of HH) had that as an issue, and adopted similar approaches to handling it.

                    4. The Evil Author has many plans for disasters and unfortunate events to befall our heroes. The wonderful things I give them, i.e. highly efficient and potentially powerful power source and never having to worry about filling up the hard drive every six weeks have to be balanced by significant downsides.

                      The fifth and forthcoming big lie (not mentioning aliens, because those are a special case, naturally) comes in book three. Regeneration tanks are a common thing in sci-fi, and they appear here as well. I’m still playing with the downsides, though, not sure how deliciously evil to make them, and when to reveal said downsides to the reader. They’re not going to know right off the bat, because nobody is going to tell them. Well, that and the whole slave soldier thing they have going on.

                      You have to be at least a little bit evil to be an author sometimes. Good and proper evil for the heroes to fight against is necessary. Makes it that much more satisfying to trounce them, of course.

                  2. I blow it out the back with the engine exhaust (waste helium). Or so I presume, since it gets kinda scorchy back there, but the rest of the ship doesn’t cook.

                    1. Which works unless you have to become a “hole in space”. At which point you’ll either radiate infrared or need somewhere to put it.

                2. “Or you’re snagging energy from an alternate dimension with a higher energy state”

                  Paging Waldo Farthingwaite-Jones, white courtesy telephone…

                3. We don’t have ZPMs or Unobtanium (well, if it’s Unobtainable, why would we?) then again my nonhumans have been in space about 13,000 years, and taking ship to the next planet is (usually) no more interesting than taking the bus to the next berg here on Earth. My particular handwavium is that once the collapsed hydrogen (which you can pump like water, albeit in a sealed system) has all gone to helium (happens if it’s stored for a few decades), it’s used up.

                  Ever wonder what’s happening at the other end of a ZPM? does it get supercold, or create a black hole, or….?? And why would it ever run out of energy??

                  1. “And why would it ever run out of energy??”

                    It probably doesn’t…. but the equivalent of step-down resistors probably do degrade, and rather than take the chance of a mini white hole appearing they shut it down until those can be replaced…. as described in those owners manuals we can’t translate.

                  2. “Ever wonder what’s happening at the other end of a ZPM? does it get supercold, or create a black hole, or….?? And why would it ever run out of energy??”

                    Depends on what you mean by ZPM. I’m not a physicist and I don’t play one on TV, but zero point energy in Stargate stops when it reaches “maximum entropy.” If I’m spitballing sci-fi ideas, say the ZPM draws energy from the continuous fluctuation at the quantum mechanics level and somehow takes this nearly zero level of energy and amplifies it to a useful degree. ZPM stops working when the amplification process breaks down. The zero point energy is still there, you just can’t do anything with it at that point, kind of like A/C without the right plug.

                    As far as liquid collapsed hydrogen goes, sounds like we’re looping back to the thermal issue there. I mean, I know how cold liquid *nitrogen* is, imagining liquid hydrogen is… Well, given sufficient pressure, sure you can get a liquid. Still be bloody damned cold, though. Some kind of force field container, maybe? And then you’ve got to keep it from immediately going to helium, of course. Bah, its beyond my meager science knowledge already. This is why I write fiction, instead of get paid to do science. *grin*

                    1. The only way hydrogen can ‘go to helium’ is through fusion, releasing a great deal of energy in the process. Your handwavium is literally a form of ‘cold fusion’. But, how do you get the energy out?

                      Now, I’m working on a story that will have fusion reactors with a lot less handwavium. Fusion plasma is full of high-energy charged particles. If you were to use magnetic fields to guide the electrons to a cathode, and the alpha particles to an anode, the reactor would serve as a current source.

                      My reactors will use modulated magnetic fields to steer electrons and alpha particles of specific energies over time to six sets of electrodes, generating 3-phase 60-cycle AC at about 11 million volts RMS and 78 amps per phase, for a total of 2.5 GWE. Conversion is not perfect, so each reactor also produces another 840 MWT of waste heat — which is used to boil water and drive steam turbines and alternators to generate another 300 megawatts of electricity. The spent steam is used for other purposes before being condensed and run through the cycle again.

                      The available current is limited by the number of electrons and protons present in the hydrogen fuel, half of which are lost in fusing the hydrogen to helium. Two protons and two electrons are not exactly converted into neutrons, but that’s the practical result.

                      (GWE = gigawatts electric, MWT = megawatts thermal)

          1. To the second, therefore, that they should be the principal liars, I answer paradoxically, but truly, I think truly, that of all writers under the sun the poet is the least liar; and though he would, as a poet can scarcely be a liar. The astronomer, with his cousin the geometrician, can hardly escape when they take upon them to measure the height of the stars. How often, think you, do the physicians lie, when they aver things good for sicknesses, which afterwards send Charon a great number of souls drowned in a potion before they come to his ferry? And no less of the rest which take upon them to affirm. Now for the poet, he nothing affirmeth, and therefore never lieth. For, as I take it, to lie is to affirm that to be true which is false; so as the other artists, and especially the historian, affirming many things, can, in the cloudy knowledge of mankind, hardly escape from many lies. But the poet, as I said before, never affirmeth. The poet never maketh any circles about your imagination, to conjure you to believe for true what he writeth. Sir Philip Sidney

          1. Empty Of New Sarah Stories!

            (Yes, yes, it has a bunch of other things. Including research I haven’t worked my way entirely though, and Books I Should Read that I’m slowly chewing on, and stuff by friends I’ve been meaning to read, and…)

              1. I resemble that remark!

                …which is probably why Our Beloved Hostess laughed at me for so many years in which I insisted I wasn’t a writer. *sigh*
                At least we can be (accoridng to certain leftists) “Not A Real Writer”s together?

                1. Those certain leftists are not your audience. They don’t matter. Your audience are the people that love sci-fi, not adherents of political fanaticism, addicted to the dopamine hit of Twatter likes, and mired in the ideology of nihilistic ends.

                  I mean, there’s a market for political ideological crap, don’t get me wrong. Some folks get rich on that. But that’s a sad, soul-sucking sort of life, and completely ruins your capacity for wonder and joy, so you can’t write sci-fi when you’re stuck in a mindset like that. Not good sci-fi anyway.

                  1. Yeah, no, they’re not. My audience is here, and some other random oddball places (quite a few with Venn diagram audience overlap to here), and skews wierdly between four groups. The first two are the SciFi Thriller fans who like the pacing and the harder science in ecology and economics that shapes the hot edges of the cold war, and the MilSF fans who like the tactical correctness and the military men I write. Both of those groups put up with the romance. Then I get the Romance fans who put up with the scifi, but wish I would spend less time on the science and explosions, and spend more time on the couple. And then I get a bunch of LitRPG readers, where I sincerely wish I could buy ’em a coffee, plop down across the table, and go “So, as a LitRPG fan, what do you like about my books? Because I’m not LitRPG, but there sure are a bunch of you who read me, and I’m really curious why!”

                    I couldn’t do ideological fanaticism if my life depended on it; it fails the working in reality test. Not that I wrote an entire book or anything around the EU’s weaponization of the Common Fisheries Allotment policy being a major driver of Brexit… *clears throat* I mean, that totally wasn’t the same as the weaponization of the Fed’s Common Fisheries Allotment policy driving Neuva Terra to secede and throw in with the Empire as a client state!

                    1. I might be able to generalize for a LitRPG reader. I’ve helped edit a few of them here and there, and I know somewhat of what the fanbase looks for. What in particular are you looking for?

                    2. Also, if you want another to add political complexity- and make you want to tear your hair out in frustration- look up the Open Fields Doctrine. It reads like someone took one look at the Fourth Amendment and said “Nah. I’ll do what I want!” Keywords: “warrantless search and seizure of property outside owner’s curtilage.” Privacy? Private property? Due process? The Oligarchy needs not these things!

                    3. That reminds me that you were the reason I was thinking of writing up a summary of why LitRPG works, and what the basis for the reason was. (Or was it a LitRPG reading list?)

                      Re: your fans. There’s also Moe Lane. If he is one of the four, he is probably a Romance reader. But he is really widely eclectic. Likes alt history, Tim Powers, mythos horror, etc. I’ve been meaning to comment to him again, because I’m pretty sure below is very slightly wrong.


                    4. I recommend the Dungeon Samurai trilogy, but it is a very unusual example. For one thing, its world building is excellent.

                    5. And then I get a bunch of LitRPG readers, where I sincerely wish I could buy ’em a coffee, plop down across the table, and go “So, as a LitRPG fan, what do you like about my books? Because I’m not LitRPG, but there sure are a bunch of you who read me, and I’m really curious why!”

                      My bet?

                      Competent world building*, satisfying storylines**, and competency pr0n.

                      * this is at least *partly* from the tactical correctness, your habit of researching types of people you don’t actually know, and the harder-edge science.
                      ** including at least some of the romance and likely the tactical correctness.

                    6. Possibly. I still think it’s likely reader overlap. The Venn diagram of readers who are gamers and gamers who read LitRPG is nearly indistinguishable from a single circle, if you skew young enough. Under thirty would be my guess.

                    7. Huh. It won’t give me a reply option… I think we hit the limit of the nesting. WordPress Delenda Est!

                      I’m just wondering… why me? Specifically, what about my books attracts a chunk of the LitRPG crowd? The Military SciFi guys are not shy about identifying themselves and being highly amused at me throwing in Rhodesian Fireforce tactics on one book. The romance readers are pretty straightforward about informing me they like the romance “despite the low steam factor.” But I’ve never had a reader say “I’m a LitPRG reader and I like X about your stuff.”

                      I could claim that I’d like to know so I can market better, but really, I’m just highly curious because I honestly don’t know the genre or the fans of it well. That said, I wouldn’t want you to have to go out of your way to read things to form an opinion!

                    8. LitRPG as a genre usually follows a certain story line path. The little blue boxes, stats, and so on are tools like any other in the writers toolbox: they’re there to tell the story. If they don’t add to the story, even LitRPG fans get bored with it. But anyway, that’s one long digression I’ve had too many times with newbie LitRPG writers and not pertinent.

                      The story arc of a LitRPG follows a definite and discernible progression (as opposed to less defined character growth based on “save the world/the puppies/the high school class” from aliens/chickenpocalypse/evil overlords), generally from a position of weakness and cluelessness to growing competence in a quantified manner. It shares this with cultivation xianxia/wuxia. LitRPG is a genre has grown explosively in the last eight years or so, and topically it draw in fans of whatever more classical genre it is set in.

                      LitRPG fans tend to be younger, some Gen X, but mostly Millenials and Zoomers. Gamers, nearly all of them. The gamified elements of LitRPG are at least a part of the draw. To give you an idea of what they like in LitRPG, it’s like a game in story form without the artificial restrictions. In video games (as opposed to pen and paper tabletop) you have NPCs with severely limited dialogue trees, invisible walls that limit your exploration, and several other immersion breaking factors.

                      LitRPG is often a form of isikai- the MC is transported to another world that has gamified aspects. Some form of “system” is nigh universal, that being what quantifies reality, gives you stats, quests, and often snarky pop-up windows. Your PoV characters have to survive monsters, sometimes learn how to craft things, and do quests to progress and grow stronger.

                      So the main draw of LitRPG is not what links your stuff to the genre in general, I’d think. I wouldn’t be surprised if your younger military fans were LitRPG fans as well. Basically, if your readers are *also* gamers, there’s a good chance they read LitRPG, too.

                    9. LitRPG is often a form of isikai- the MC is transported to another world that has gamified aspects.

                      Okay, I see, although I had to look up “isekai” and how that’s different from “you’re all teleported into your D&D characters” I’m not quite sure.

                      Honestly, that sounds even more tedious than all 4637 Forgotten Realms “novels” featuring the exploits of Drow Mary Sue Drizzt Do’Urden. And the 2514 Dragonlance books before that. About the only good TTRPG books I’ve ever read were the first 3 or 4 Shadowrun-based novels, but even those were mass-produced genre trash and were more “fun” than “well-written”.

                    10. Isikai is just portal fantasy, essentially, not always a form of Gamelit. It’s a broader term than LitRPG, with a Japanese twist. LitRPG runs the gamut from good stories that use game elements to tell a story to fanfic that is tedious even to fans of the root idea.

                      What I tend to do with newbie writers of LitRPG is teach them to use the system as a storytelling tool, rather than an excuse to pad word count with *another* pointless status window. If the popup does not serve the story, get rid of it.

                      Little blue boxes that serve the story can be quest windows that move the plot along, scene setting that defines just *how* broken the MC is, or shiny loot windows that mean the MC will be not-quite-as-pathetic next time.

                      Most of the criticism against LitRPG as a genre is a de gustibus thing. It isn’t to everyone’s taste, and that’s perfectly fine. I’m not a big fan of pineapple on pizza, but some folks swear by it. I *will* hammer the lazy sods that don’t do their due diligence as writers when they ask for my help, though.

                    11. Wait, so you’re talking about status popups and little blue boxes actually written into the fiction? Not, the narrator is a character in a parallel universe that just happens to look like World of Warcraft, but rather the narrator is a character in the game of World of Warcraft as if their fictional life is mediated through the game UI?

                      Okay, this just keeps sounding stupider. Apologies to anybody here who is a fan: de gustibus non carborundum, etc.

                    12. Yup, pretty close. Your PoV MC is essentially a player in a world with gamified rules. Several are 1st person PoV, which I’m not quite a fan of (there are exceptions). They get the popups, the status windows, the whole gamut.

                      There’s a reason I say that fans of LitRPG are mostly younger gamers. I was a pen and paper tabletop guy, and became, I guess you’d call it a “filthy casual” in gamer terms. Basically if you’re over thirty and not a gamer, it sounds dumb as a box of rocks. Even some younger than thirty and gamers, too. You are *definitely* not alone in that opinion, good sir. No worries! *chuckle*

                    13. Okay, I see, although I had to look up “isekai” and how that’s different from “you’re all teleported into your D&D characters” I’m not quite sure.

                      It’s not. Just the kids watching that anime aren’t old enough to remember all those 70s and 80s novels about D&D characters, pulled into the book, etc.

                      It’s definitely a matter of taste– the Drizzt books are some of my favorites. Guy gets dragged through a key-hole, backwards.

                    14. Also if anyone wants to write LitRPG and make it not stink, I’ll help if I can. It’s not terribly complicated, but for the writer it helps if you are at least competent at math. The tables are not as bad as they look, from the keyboard side. Main thing is, like superhero fic, make sure you balance your system well enough to prevent outright abuse, and don’t give the n00bs vorpal weapons and Power Word Kill in the first chapter. That’s Light Novel territory. *grin*

                    15. > Huh. It won’t give me a reply option… I think we hit the limit of the nesting.

                      Here’s how to leave a reply to a specific comment (so that the person will be notified that you replied) even if WordPress isn’t giving you a reply link:

                      1. Find the date of the comment: it will be a link. Right-click that link and copy the link address into the clipboard, then paste it into Notepad or your favorite text editor.
                      2. Find a less-deeply-nested comment, anywhere else on that same page, that does have a reply link. Right-click the reply link and copy the address into the clipboard, then paste it into the text editor.
                      3. Look at the two links. They will both have a comment ID in them (currently six digits, but since the six-digit number starts with 8, at some point it will become seven digits). One of them will be a direct link to the comment, ending in something like “#comment-810871”. The other one will be a link to reply, ending in something like “?replytocom=810779#respond”.
                      4. Copy the “replytocom” link (the whole link) onto a *new* line in your text editor. Delete the comment ID after the equals sign, but leaving the “#respond” part of the URL. Now grab the comment ID from the “#comment-810871” address (just the numbers, not the rest of the ID) and put that comment ID after the “replytocom=” and before the “#respond” part.
                      5. If you’ve done it right, you should now have a URL that ends with “?replytocom=810871#respond”, where the comment ID is the one from step 1 but the rest of the URL is the link from step 2. Now paste that edited URL into a new browser tab, leaving the old browser tab open.

                      Why did I emphasize using a new browser tab? Because the only downside of this technique is that you’ll be in a reply box at the bottom of the page, instead of a reply box neatly slotted in under the comment you’re replying to. So instead of scrolling up heaven knows how far to find the comment you’re replying to, you can just switch browser tabs to read it as you answer.

                      You’ll know you’re done this right if the comment box at the bottom of the page says “Leave a reply to (name)”; as I type this right now, it’s saying “Leave a reply to Dorothy Grant”. If it just says “Leave a reply” with no name, then you’re not about to leave a reply comment, but you’ll instead be leaving a new top-level comment that will not be nested.

                      For proof that this works, see this very comment. I used exactly that technique to reply to your comment, even though WordPress wasn’t giving me a Reply link.

                    16. I believe there might be a simpler way to get around the lack of reply button because we broke the nesting again. Let’s see here…

                      When you are logged in to WordPress, at the top there is a black bar that has “My Site” and “Reader” on the top left. Click “Reader.” If you have AccordingtoHoyt.com as one of your followed sites, it will show up in a column below, by date. If not, you’ll have to search for it. Find the blog post, and at the bottom of the blurb are three link buttons- a sideways “V” link button, a tiny dialogue bubble, and three dots.

                      Clock the tiny dialogue bubble. This brings up the blog post in the reader function. You can reply to and “like” any and every comment from this window.

                    17. True, but I’ve tried the “Reader” option and seriously dislike its interface. So I go with the simpler-and-easier (for me, at least *grin*) method of editing the URL.

                    18. It’s faster if you’re familiar with copy pasta and the like, yes. *grin* Not a fan of the reader option either, but it is currently the only way to like a post. WPDE! *chuckle*

                    19. LitRPG tends to be specifically inspired by computer or video game RPGs.

                      There is some form of user interface with statistics, that either corresponds to, or enhances, the real or ‘real’ abilities of the character.

                      And these statistics increase with use, or by defeating opponents and collecting XP.

                      Tabletop inspired fiction tends to be one or two subgenres, and not overlap heavily with LitRPG.

                    20. I’m not the biggest reader of LitRPG, but I’ve read enough to have at least half a clue.

                    21. A lot of litrpg now is “You are in another world, or your own world, with an information system in your head. It just uses game stuff as an interface that you will understand. Who did it? The gods. Or aliens.”

                      So basically it is turning into a universal translator/help system.

                      Logically, somebody not a gamer could get a different help system from gods or aliens.

                    22. I haven’t read any yet (though M.A. Rothman’s Plainswalker books are on the list) but I do find the concept of LitRPG interesting and wonder if it’s not what I need to mix my old would-be game designer creativity with my writing ability. Still a long way from getting things settled to the point where I can seriously work on any kind of book, though.

      2. To quote Niven’s Corollary to Clarke’s third law “Any sufficiently advanced Magic is indistinguishable from Technology. I’m not sure where Nine Princes in Amber falls. It’s a bit like Leigh Brackett and Raymond Chandler had a baby … there is a real Film Noir vibe to that first book. It’s definitely one of the silly late night discussions that you might find at any engineering school circa 1980.

        1. Corwin still had Carl Corey’s “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining” New Yorker persona even after he got his memories back. Enough showed through to make his siblings wonder if he was a shadow-Corwin trying to fool them. Their suspicions were very nearly correct; the nearer shadow-Corwins were closer to what they remembered than who stood in front of them, who was mostly Corey at the time.

          We learned very little about Carl Corey, but as-presented, he was interchangeable with any generic hard boiled PI, even if he wasn’t a PI.

          1. Right Carl Corey does feel an awful lot Like Philip Marlow of “The Big Sleep” or Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon” particularly Humphrey Bogarts portrayals of those two when Corey appears in the first book. He does change more to one of the Shakespearean princes from the histories, but the gumshoe is still lurking in there. Zelazny’s writing is almost always engaging.

  4. As long as we’re on the topic of High Points and Important Moments in our personal journeys: One of the more inspiring things that I’ve had the good fortune to witness just happens to have been the LibertyCon 3 panel for the release of Straight Outta Tombstone; specifically, the moment after David Boop shared the story of his efforts to find a contributor with the necessary American Indian blood to complete the anthology. You brought the thunder and lightning, along with the simple and righteous truth that it’s the storyteller’s imagination that creates the story and not his DNA profile, or his ancestors’ address, or his intersectionality score — and it was glorious! I don’t ever expect to see anything like that at an East Coast convention, and we all know why. Thanks for the memory!

  5. I got a flash of you coming out and blinking your eyes in the bright sun, like waking up…. It is nice to hear you talking about being happy , I am glad you had this epiphany in your life and realized how much so many folks care for you. Enjoy!

  6. Sarah, listen to younger son! We are not who we were physically 20 years ago. When we were poor, I used to work on my own car. Not doing that anymore.

    1. We vowed not to remodel after we sold the California place in ’03, but some projects needed to be done with in-house “free” labor. Roofs, floors, and new construction of/in a variety of outbuildings needed to be done, (much/most of it by me), but we’re trying to farm out more and more. 50 was a long time ago, and there’s stuff I really should *not* do again.

    2. Oh, boy, that one hits home. I’ve had to give up working on our cars for the most part. Not because I can’t, but because I just don’t have time to turn the wrench. Happily, I’ve found a mechanic that doesn’t mind me rolling in with problems already mostly diagnosed.

      1. My favorite as well as that of JMS. I believe “Some work of noble note may yet be done, not unbecoming men that strove with gods.” That’s what keeps me getting up in the morning.

  7. I’m glad it’s staying up until the 16th. I get paid next Friday and I’ll chip in a little then.

    We love you, Sarah!

  8. We are your fans, Sarah. It gives us pleasure to read your words, and even more pleasure to know that whatever amount of money we can spare will actually do some good, even if it’s just for one person. Your books, blog articles, and other works have helped a lot of us. It’s a small but satisfying thing to be able to pay some of that back.

    Now write, woman! We hunger … 🙂

  9. I mean I was in love with him, but it never occurred to me it was mutual.

    Yep, know that one.

    And mine got me TWICE on that one– first time, I was able to figure he just *liked* me a bit, not that he’d been crushing on me as hard as I was crushing on him.

    Love makes one dense. 😀

          1. Oh, c’mon. RES has to sleep sometime, BobThe RegistereedFool has moments when we all go “You’re not just sane, my dude, you’re sounding knurd. This worries me.” I’ve been swamped, and it wasn’t because I had a wedding to organize, my wife to murder,and Guilder to frame for it. Why not encourage another one, to help fill in the obvious need for live wires and bad puns?

              1. *blinks mildly at you*

                Well, I *did* marry an African. Even if he’s now an American by choice. If anybody was going to put up with me bringing a wife home, it’d be him!

                He may mutter something about “G-d help the junior wife”, though. Possibly even in Xulu.

            1. At my daughter’s wedding they used music from The Princess Bride, no wives were murdered, and no attempt was made to frame Guilder. The groom’s brother was prohibited from reciting the wedding oration during the ceremony and had to wait for the reception to do it. In High School said daughter used the screen name dredpiratebutttercup.

              1. I was at a wedding recently where the pastor actually did take a deep breath and intone, “Mawwiage…”

                He didn’t go through the whole thing though. 😀

    1. That light, fluttering feeling in your stomach? That’s common sense leaving your body. That’s how we know common sense lives in your liver. *grin*

  10. I dropped the balance of my annual book buying budget into the GFM. It wasn’t a huge amount, but your blog posts, which I generally read, but rarely comment on, have given me much food for thought. Especially during the current insanity and my current cancer treatment (I’m not sure which is more sickening, chemo or the political shenanigans).

  11. It’s true you know. I was so angry frightened, and isolated. This blog gives me an outlet and a group of similar minded people who don’t seem to mind my typos.

    Me and mine are in your debt and I don’t think we’re alone in that.

    1. I think it was true for a bunch of us. I was in a bad state after the big steal and the huge emotional losses of that time. After a while it got better and work got busier and I didn’t keep up as well, but I almost always read the posts even if I didn’t participate.

      Sanity saving if not life saving…

    2. You write as if you could read my mind.
      I’ll post my own comment below but you’ve said much of what I’ll say.
      The first time I really took note and fell in love with the blog was during or just before… time is so funky right now… the coof. Sarah wrote all these crazy emotions and till then I thought I was the only one who felt so strongly about things.
      I swear every time Sarah says “I can’t explain” I’m shouting “you don’t have to I get it!”
      I wouldn’t have made it through all this crazy shite without the blog and the stories.
      No lie.
      God led me here.

    3. Likewise, she was one of the very few people who saw the craziness for what it was so it was nice to know there was a community here that saw it, too, even if it felt like a small outpost in the madness. Given how much this community’s helped me in other areas I’d say joining in is one of the best decisions I’ve made.

      1. Yeah. I had poked my nose in and intermittently lurked and even commented once or twice, but it was the onset of worldwide AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS HOW DOES THIS EVEN MAKE SENSE that brought me to join the community.

    4. I was depressed after the 2012 election (I know, I know) and came here via instapundit. It’s a good place.

      1. 2008 election, and some difficult hands in life. Fair amount of depression. 🙂

        Had trouble sticking with some of the tech changes at Baen’s Bar, but here was accessible, and relatively welcoming.

    5. I got a friend of mine to start reading posts here and she says it was so great to know that she wasn’t alone. She lives with two crazy leftists, her husband and her sister, and was convinced she was the only one who thought the rest of the world was crazy. I kept telling her she wasn’t alone, but I know she thought I was just saying that because we’re friends. Then she started reading Sarah’s blog and the comments. I know she feels better about things. Now she texts me…”did you read Sarah today?”

  12. Regarding play…..

    The game is “save western civilization from destruction” and you are an important player in that “game”.

    That is where play comes in.

  13. Regarding play…..

    The game is “save western civilization from destruction” and you are an important player in that “game”.

    That is where play comes in.

  14. About things that make us feel good… We were at Comic-Con one year, and my wife bought an original piece by Theresa Mather on the first day of the Con. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1b2cW2louSxh2UjcwDJCpGipMRp3tmSJy. She had just gotten out of the hospital from cancer surgery, and when I donated blood for her, they had given me a T-shirt with wolves on it (a San Diego Zoo promotion), so it made her think of that. So we bought it first moment of first day at quick-sale price. Ms. Mather had paid for several panels for art display and had donated one to a teenage friend who had AIDS, so he could display his own artwork. She told us that the quick-sale of the piece paid for the cost of displaying both their artwork, so she was very grateful to have that off her mind–she was still young and up and coming at the time. Everybody won. Likewise with you. Let it change the way you see yourself for the better. I know how hard that is. I still feel strange when people at work treat me like I’m the smartest person in the room. I feel uneasy about it, but I’m trying to accept that people actually really do value my expertise. Accept that your son can sometimes see who you really are better than you can when you look in the mirror.

  15. You should know when I go to Instapundit, I immediately look for your posting before anyone else and I was disappointed not seeing you for the longest time and then when you disappear for a day or two. Just so you know…

  16. Sarah, I know you write good books, but for me that is not as magnetic as your gift for forming a community.
    Yeah, they are related but not exactly the same.
    At this site we hear and feel the changing nuances of your life and we react in kind. It’s like a big neighborhood meeting where you start the discussion, our minds react, and we all learn and are supported a little bit. It’s personal and relevant.
    Gotta go now and relive some of my inflection points!

  17. I found this blog during the pandemic via a link, I believe, from Instapundit. While I do not read it every day, it is part of the blogs and discussion groups I follow. It and you are important to me, as it clarifies the truth that the ‘press’ and ‘media’ (presstitutes and mediawhores) refuse to acknowledge. Most of us, the regular folks, have more in common with each other and are not the ‘racist dirtbag deplorables’ we are characterized as. Just regular people trying to do our best for our selves, our families and our friends as we negotiate the world in front of us.

    Thank you for what you do.

  18. I think you’ve just found America, Great Aunt.

    The real one. The one that we want to believe exists everywhere. The one where we do help, for no other reason than it’s a good deed. That there is a justice in the world. That people are genuinely kind by default, not by coercion.

    Revel in it. Get well, Heal up your home and your bills.

    And get back to writing.

  19. Sarah, I’m just thrilled for you. For me, it was a few months after my divorce when I realized that I was happy, that there was joy bubbling out of me. Cherish those moments.

  20. I think that one of the hardest kind of change to go through is change in your self image. It’s one of the reasons why it can be so hard to convince somebody with a leftist set of beliefs — their image of themselves is “leftist good. I am leftist”. People reject positions that don’t align with their self images, because they’re avoiding pain.

    Hopefully this revolution in your self image is *not* of that kind though 🙂 And people who are open minded and flexible generally have an easier time, because they have a … more “meta” self image, that involves thoughts like “I grow with my experiences”, “I change my opinions as I learn more”. Instead of tightly clinging to specific talking points.

    And I certainly hope that changing your self image to “What I do is worthwhile and valuable” involves much more joy than pain. It should 🙂

    1. But, but, I like imagining that I’m 5’5″, 120 pounds, and willowy. And still 20-somthing, except with the muscles I have now! Nooooo, I don’ wan’ t’ change! 😉

      1. Sometimes I’m still shocked when I look in the mirror — “who is that old woman??” My internal image is more like I was at 28.

        1. Sometimes 28, sometimes 38, but yep. “Where did all my hair go? I swear it was all there like last month!”

  21. My mother was a teenager when the Germans bombed Warsaw and they found shelter in sewers and cellars. Later, got captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia into slave labor camps. Her father and older brother starved to death. Made it to Israel while the war was still going on. Asked her how did she make through other trials and tribulations. She said: I always knew in my heart that tomorrow will be a better day. We were taught by our parents that every day is days a good day. Some days are just better.

  22. Can you change your self-image to look a bit less like my first cousin once removed?
    Beause the picture on the GFM is totally freaking me out!

    (I kid. Kind of. The resemblance *is* uncanny.)

      1. Heh. Given that ADD is genetic, it’s a virtual certainty.
        Sadly, I’m pretty sure the common thread happened 10 or more generations ago. (Granted, there were a passel of Glaswegian Scots in the Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars, but my ancestor had already decided to avoid transportation by removing himself before then.)

          1. Neach-cinnidh, arsa e mar fhàilte!

            (Assuming the Internet translator is accurate, of course. There is a non-zero chance I’m inadvertently insulting your ancestors.)

  23. This morning, while lying in bed, I realized this entire GoFundMe experience is one of the turning points of my life. Which probably sounds really weird to the rest of you, and is really hard to explain, but I’m going to try.

    This doesn’t sound weird at all.

    I think, given how surprised you were by the support it generated if it wasn’t a turning point I’d consider that weird.

    However, BGE saying he wouldn’t have survived the Covidiocy mentally intact without this blog made my jaw drop.

    It has been a big part of my surviving even if I get so annoyed I disappear for blocks of time. It is most of the sanity I hear and, along with the Discord which is an outgrowth of the blog, my only real external interaction.

    But knowing what I’m doing matters, and matters for SO MANY PEOPLE has tweaked something deep inside me.

    I can’t imagine anything being better for mental health TBH.

    (and again I’m not sure how this is play, but fine. I DO get people are enjoying themselves. I don’t have to understand HOW.)

    Funny you should ask again. Today I had to make a PowerPoint slide for my anniversary with $COMPANY. One thing they asked for was my favorite quioe. The quote I choose is from some Bob guy you might have heard of:

    “One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.”

    You are experiencing good fortune so it is only sane for us to experience joy and want to be part of it.

  24. To know you have made a difference in people’s lives, ah, that is all the difference, isn’t it? 🙂

    Rest. Write. Listen to son and Havey. Keep making a difference, Sarah. We can’t spare you; you fight.

  25. I wish we were in the position to jump in, but it’s great that you are seeing that we (all your readers) love you like family.

    And if I get this job I’m applying for, we (Better Half and I) will be able to chip in some, whilst we are getting our financial cats herded.

    Good news for you! As it should be

  26. But Sarah! I define overpopulation as when I can see signs of human civilization from my home, or I can close my eyes and hear the sounds of human civilization.

    On the other hand, unlike the Zero Population crowd, I’m only considering getting rid of the portion of the world’s population who actively try to take my stuff.

          1. Not even the ones where the people have literally *nothing.* The ones where socialism would be a step UP from chaotic banditry, because at least the suffering there is *predictable.*

            We’re it. The US falls, and where will folks run to? Unless we get to space right quick, and start orbital farms and all, it will be a long dark night the end of which our great grandkids *might* see, if they are brave enough.

        1. I just meant that about a quarter of the governments were uninterested in taking Mike Houst’s stuff because they’ve got bigger concerns, like looting their own population, staving off revolutions, etc.

  27. “It will work itself out, like a piece of shrapnel, likely”

    Oh… like Tony Stark? Will you craft your own power armor and fight bad guys!?


    On a more serious note…

    Absent a certain level of arrogance, it is hard for most individuals to realize just what sort of effect they’ve had on those around them. Sure, mentally you might have an idea. But accepting an idea logically and rationally isn’t the same as accepting it emotionally. And it doesn’t really sink in and truly become a part of us until the emotional realization takes place.

    From the sound of things, that has happened for you. Congrats. ^_^

  28. You never have realized how much you mean to so many folks, Sarah. You’ve given so many of us a hand up or even a hand out when we’ve needed it. Of course folks would return the favor.

                1. One of my favorite bits of Odin’s wisdom from the Havamal:

                  I counsel you, Loddfafnir,
                  if you’ll take my advice,
                  you’ll profit if you learn it,
                  it’ll do you good if you remember it:
                  If you have a friend,
                  and you trust him,
                  go and visit him often.
                  Weeds and high grass
                  will grow on a path
                  that nobody travels.

                  1. That’s a good one. Having friends makes one richer in life. Richer in the only way that matters, I mean. Whether rich or poor, young or old, sick or hale, you are better in life with a friend at your side.

                  1. I don’t know Zoho [goes to look… seems very straightforward], but GMX has been stable for over 20 years, and is not inclined to just vanish email like Yahoo periodically does. POBOX.com is equally stable but IIRC not free. OTOH, that means you’re probably not the product… And of course there’s Protonmail, but right now that’s kinda paint-a-target.

                    I have accounts scattered all over hell, but mostly use mailboxes with my hosting/domains, or for critical stuff, Earthlink (absolutely the most reliable email I know of, that’s why I keep the $10/mo. mail account — 8 mailboxes, tho not much disk space, which I don’ care about anyway).

      1. Paraphrase of G.K.Chesterton (because I’m too lazy to get it exact): We never feel so small as when we know we are truly needed.

  29. I do wish I could contribute to the GFM, but I’m honestly not taking any toll roads this month. Still feel guilty about it, as you’ve helped to keep me relatively centered as well. Once I’ve dug myself out of the car repair hole, I’ll kick into the PayPal. Half the time when I do, I tell you not to brag, but TO TELL YOU I APPRECIATE YOUR DAILY EFFORTS!

    I was so happy when you spent the time at the new place, and I could tell by your writing that you were feeling better.

    I’m selfishly hoping that the financial cushion will help on that as well. Wish I could kick in on that investment 🙂

      1. I do appreciate that compliment. I do try to pass along whatever knowledge and wisdom might have been driven though my skull.

      1. Mayhap, but I’m bloody minded enough that I’d crawl rather than have others work harder pulling the wagon.

        I think Sarah has the same problem.

        1. A lot of us do, I think. Stubborn to a fault is a common character flaw amongst the Odd. Unfamiliarity with honest praise- or perhaps just made uncomfortable by it. Not just social outcasts, but outcast from the outcasts, as it were. Not even a square peg, something completely different.

          You do you, lazuhrus. Last thing any of us want to do is tell someone else how to live. That sounds like too much work.

        2. Yup. Here’s the silly thing (I *just* figured this out) –

          For those of us who learned or taught ourselves radical self-reliance (which I think includes most of “Heinlein’s Children”), *and especially* because we are currently living in a culture where The Enemy is trying to normalize dependency on itself and discourage individuality and self-reliance,

          when we *do* finally come to where we have run out of spoons / dollars / nanoseconds / “ability to cope” (at whatever level), we are mortally embarrassed to ask for help –

          even though [1] we have been (many of us) willing to give of ourselves and our treasure to our friends in the past, unstintingly and unhesitatingly, and
          [2] those same friends would be willing, nay eager, to pay it back / pay it forward to us in our Hour of Need.

          Please relax, Sarah, accept and enjoy and relax and heal – and then write! 😀

  30. I had to laugh reading about the advice from your son. I wanted to so much to tell you something very similar, that you were undervaluing your very specific skills, but felt it would be a bit out of place for a stranger on the net to be so personal. 😉

  31. Charles Martin did a GFM a few …. maybe 5? years ago, and came to the same conclusion; being PAID for his work made it finally all worth it. It kicked him out of a mild funk, and let him go forward.

    Sarah, we like you, and we like your work. Stand tall, feel appreciated, and tell yourself “These crazy people like what I’m doing! And are willing to literally put their money where their mouths are!” And go forward.

  32. ” It was just THIS little blog, with my ranting and musing. Really? It made THAT much difference?”

    You’d damned well better believe it. This place has kept me sane more times than I can count. It’s a touchstone of fact and logic in a world which has too little of either, and it tells me that I’m not crazy or alone..

  33. Regarding valuing your time, I had to have that talk with my wife many years ago. After a…well…not exactly disastrous house renovation, I said something about how we didn’t get paid. She looked at me like I’d grown horns, and said “but we made $XXXXXX net profit!” I sat down with her and the project plan that we’d kept, listed out all the hours, and proved that we would have done better working at McDonald’s and keeping our risk capital in the bank.

    That was an eye-opener for her, and my honey-do list started getting shorter.

  34. *Cheers!* Glad this came out well for you.

    Honestly, knowing there’s good people still out there despite the crazy is important to all of us who drop by here. Helps give me the guts to keep tackling writing when everything seems to be coming apart at the seams.

    (27 trouble spots in Oni hit, working on the last missing scenes….)

  35. I told this to Dave Freer some time back and I’ll say it to you: You have no idea how many friends you have. You never will. That’s how writing works. Something you’ve written may touch someone where they ache the worst, and some of that ache goes away. You’ve made another friend. (And probably another regular reader.) We all ache in different places, and fiction touches us all in different ways. So you never know who will look up from one of your books, wipe a tear from his/her eye, and think, She gets it! And then, very likely, I’m not alone!

    People have told me I’ve done that several times, and I am nowhere *near* as famous as you are.

    The changes you write about here I call “horizons.” They are events that change you. Sometimes you can see them coming. Sometimes you can’t. (I blogged about this on June 29.) Some of them go by so quietly that you don’t see them until they’re in your rear-view mirror. They all teach you something. Remember them, and what they teach.

    Finally, one thing I take from you is grounding. You are rooted so deeply in this Earth that you’re standing on the mantle in asbestos boots. It’s more than just being a good example. You have principles, and you hold to them, even in the face of massive opposition. In doing so, you prove to us that it can be done. Sometimes that’s all it takes to allow us to do the same.

    We’re celebrating you. Get used to it. We’re not going to stop any time soon.

  36. Yeah, sometimes the universe conspired to rub our noses in what we didn’t want to acknowledge. And it’s not always a bad thing!

    Your message of “You are loved, and have made a difference” is sure a lot better than my last one, which was “Prayer is a dangerous business, because He is Listening, and He WILL reply even if you weren’t expecting it.”

    Or the universe’s other favourite one: “You’re not 25 anymore, and your knees have a veto.”

    1. “You don’t think you can rest? Watch this!” Whamp, I’m sick as a dog for two days and very fatigued for the next three (and counting). I was also on my cane this week, which raised both eyebrows and speculations at Day Job.

      As I told the very helpful (and terribly frustrated) person at tech-ish support this afternoon, “To be honest, the way this week has gone, I’m not surprised [about massive tech problem].”

      1. Aaaand the coffeemaker decided to give the stove a migraine this morning. *SIGH* 2021 can go to [uncomfortable, miserable location].

  37. ‘And work is play, for mortal stakes.”
    Just because we say we’re playing doesn’t mean we’re not serious about it.

  38. I find it a hilarious and lovely (likely) typo that a writer called the pause of sleeping for 24 hours after giving birth a “comma”.

      1. You might appreciate this kid-ism:
        “Mom? How long is a mom-ent?”
        :confused blinking:
        “…. M-O-M-E-N-T?”
        “Yeah! That!”
        “Moe-ment. Not Mom-ent….but I am totally stealing that.”

        Yes, I do the “just a moment” that takes a half hour to finish what I’m doing, especially when they don’t wait that moment….

        1. Speaking of kid-isms, my son once called the refrigerator the foodgerator.
          He wasn’t exactly wrong….

  39. Sarah, between you and Neil, you’ve kept the rubber on the road for me. I’ve reread the DarkShip series, a bunch of stuff from JL Curtis, and Neil’s Pallas and Ceres repeatedly. My wife has had her sixth stroke. Up to this one she suffered only from aphasia, problems with complexity, and some minor, really minor physical weakness. This last one was an ACA and took out her left leg and arm. After being caregiver for 12 hours, although she’s in a SNF, I really need escape! It’s obvious that I’m not a writer, but I love those precious few who can resonate within me. I try to read this blog daily, but sometime sleep overtakes me. I’m happy to have gotten 30 years with her in Sept. I just wish the fairy godmother was fluttering our way, but it is what it is. Thank you so much!

  40. Sarah, your blogs have help me to keep mom this side of sane, instead of ranting, after the progressive do something incredibly stupid. For that matter kept me sane.

    Raided my book budget. Not much. But a lot of little adds up.

    Thank you. Again.

  41. “It was just THIS little blog, with my ranting and musing. Really? It made THAT much difference?”

    Sarah, dear dear lady. I have debated saying something for the past few months, now seems the time.

    I wish you could fully know, understand, how you have helped me.

    Back in ’12 (iirc), you had up a post talking about how many of your fans are what you charmingly call Odds. You were talking about people like me – people who are don’t quite fit into society no matter how hard we try. In the middle of that post you said something that hit me, like someone flipping a switch. It never occurred to me that it was anything other than I just stupid and ill-tempered. You, in that comment, pointed me towards something that never occurred to me. I did some research and found out some very interesting things … things that made events in the past make sense.

    Your post, that comment in particular, has helped me understand some things that may explain why I react to things the way I do.

    For your undying love of this country and the freedoms we take for granitite, for showing me that I was not as broken as I thought, for letting me know that there were others like me, I owe you a debt of gratitude that I don’t know how to repay.

        1. Aye. Recall the TV Special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when Rudolph and Hermie are told they can’t stay on the Island of Misfit Toys as they are not toys? “Misfits even among misfits.” Been reminded of that a few times now. Oddly(!) in a place I’d least expect it. But that’s how such always go, isn’t it?

    1. Yep, her thoughts on Odds are one of the biggest things that resonated and hooked me on the blog as well.

      1. Upon reflection, I think the use of Odd has helped me fix more upon who and what I am. Not that I’ve ever needed the label of what others call me, but rather my own center.

        I cannot repay the gift of that.

      2. This. It feels like permission to accept myself as who I am, rather than try to fit into one of those endless Procrustean beds.

  42. This blog was heaven sent and continues to be a source of intimacy and encouragement that I can barely describe.
    It makes me feel less alone.
    It gives me hole for myself and the Republic.
    It’s a big deal and I am glad I could help a little.

      1. Lawdog is good people, miss Sarah. He’s just awful shy, as I’m given to understand. If any of y’all see him at that Texas Authors and Pilots barbecue thing they have going on and off, tell him if he’d write us another story we’d appreciate it, thank ye kindly. *grin*

        1. *clears throat* He has! I’m not going to throw up a link, but he’s in the anthology that just came out, “It came from the Trailer Park”.

          You’re welcome!

        2. I’ve been missing his posts and stories as well. Laughing so hard I cannot see to find the tissues to wipe the tears from my eyes.

                1. Heh. I’m of Norwegian background and have always been a bookworm so I rarely have even a tinge of color in my skin. I remember a team photograph from decades ago in SF — a typical Cakifornia spread of races. I looked like my skin would glow in the dark. Relatively speaking.

  43. Regarding ‘play’… part is the feeling having taken part and Doing (actual) Good. And, I suppose, even after the initial objective has been met, and more than met (well over double as I write this…) there is, perhaps unstated, the ‘bragging rights’ thing: “Remember when when Sarah Hoyt said she need $50,000, so we all got together and came up with $MUCH_BIGGER_AMOUNT? It wasn’t much, sure, but my $Whatever was a part of that.”

  44. After something big like this we could hardly blame you for making a post like this. Also, never apologize for incapussitation! Kitties know when you need to rest, which makes me think I should probably heed the two snugglebrains’ pestering and catch up on sleep soon myself. R and C really are Havey’s siblings in spirit sometimes, aren’t they? Regardless, take all the time you need and I hope everything that’s happened gives you the perspective you need to thrive going forward!

  45. The bravery you show both in your no hold barred political commentary as well as your honest revelations about your personal life are inspiring.

    If this go fund me gets you writing, it’s a win. For everyone.

  46. I agree with your son: concentrate on writing, which I believe is your calling. Your calling is that thing you do in history for which you are most difficult to replace. Use your fiction and your blog to extol freedom and all the virtues in the kingdom of God.

    Phi 4:8 KJV Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

  47. After all the joy, let’s remember that Sarah had to give up her dream home. Sarah, please accept our condolences for a lost dream.

      1. I love hearing about people’s homes. It’s practically a sickness. I browse Zillow for fun and when driving around I have to actively suppress the FOMO when I look at the houses, since I can’t experience them all. We went from a 150 year old Victorian to a 43 year old colonial last year. And though it’s an enormous relief to leave all that plastering and sanding behind, some (stupid) part of me actually misses it.

        So if you ever want to indulge in some house pron or comparisons… Ahem… There would be an audience.

  48. I hope this GFM validates your own sense of self worth.
    You are much admired and appreciated by many people. Yes you are strong, courageous and you never give up.
    Please stay that way. Look in the mirror, know that you are not alone. And I for one like knowing that I am not alone. Reading your blog I see many people that think the same way I do.
    Oh some free advice, which is worth exactly what you paid for it.
    Send that former agent some flowers or something for nagging you into writing your blog.

  49. LitRPG

    “don’t give the n00bs vorpal weapons and Power Word Kill in the first chapter.”

    Oh, do, please! Just have a side-effect of using such things be a memory loss, and watch the character try to navigate the chaos without (originally) knowing how it comes about.

    1. Like I said, that tends to tread more in the realm of Light Novels than strictly LitRPG, but giving the characters options with nasty consequences can make for interesting stories! It was more a tongue in cheek reference to a common flaw in how new writers of LitRPG tend to run into problems with overpowered characters very rapidly.

      Your MC with the Vorpal sword could keep a diary to remind him when he has to use his dreaded weapon- bonus points if it gets stolen or… modified by a villain (or just capricious side character). That nullifies part of the nerf right there. You end up with One Punch Man in a fantasy setting, which is a definite challenge to new writers that few are able to meet successfully.

      It’s like the Superman problem. He’s super strong, fast, and immune to bullets. Old school Superman had problems, from a writing perspective, because he was too strong. Nothing was really a challenge for him in that area, so they had to work around it. They ended up doing several Superman reboots. And Superman reboots did the problem to death.

      Fiction audiences in general, not just LitRPG, want to be entertained. A story where the MC never struggles gets boring rather quickly. You either have to keep adding ever more superpowered enemies (DBZ) or slap a nerf on him to take away the source of his strength. That’s a tricky one to do without alienating your audience, especially if you’ve made that thing a big part of the character’s identity.

      The Superman problem chokes out side character story lines, because if you’re not interested in the main draw, the side stories go too. Character growth tends to stagnate. Plot grinds to a halt. After a certain point you just have to end it because the audience as already left.

      To get around that with the above example, were it me, I’d make the Vorpal sword less awesome in actuality, but keep the PoV character’s excitement of it for at least most of one book. Should be able to squeeze that out. Hint at limitations. Only useful against ‘X’ type of creature, which is typically weak (but still a lethal challenge in the beginning). Only usable in non-dominant hand. Random memory loss upon taking a life. Cursed. Causes the loss of one random stat point per day (and make stat training *hard*). Requires a ritual to re-charge it, and make that ritual complex, with difficult to find ingredients and a narrow window of attempt.

      Making it about the guy with the sword give you obvious hooks for side story lines. It’s just one weapon, and it can’t be everywhere on the battlefield. Other important characters can be threatened. Jealousy, avarice story lines. What if it gets stolen, does it work for the new wielder? How do they get it back? Do all the party characters even want it back? What happens when the drawbacks strike at a critical moment, and failure happens? And so on.

      Writing that sort of story requires planning on the part of the author. If you’re especially lucky, you can pants it- but you’ll still run into issues. That’s one reason I counsel against it for newbies- not that they *can’t,* but that it’s a package that requires a lot more work than many of them are willing to put forth at that point.

      1. Superman usually has investigative, love, and moral problems, or problems on how to apply strength. Plus his weaknesses and enemies. But lowkey, he is a comedy and romantic comedy character who thinks the whole situation is funny.

        1. *grin* Lots of versions of Supes went that route- it’s a very good one. The writers did a lot of interesting, engaging things over the years that are well worth looking at. Classic love story, and so on. The powers aspect didn’t have all that deep of a story arc to it sometimes, but the other bits made up for it.

          For the LitRPG writer, the genre itself is practically built around quantified growth. Levels, stats, quests, and so on. Slapping on powers and items that break that progression scale affect the story arc and plotline. You have to build around them. All of the stat windows and such that are there to help serve the story lose something when you drop big changes onto the scale.

          And honestly, for most new writers, they haven’t built up their world and system to a point where they have a concept of how different such overpowered items/skills/powers have. Too many of them take the DBZ route without even knowing it, because it’s the easy path.

        1. Hmm. Considering its origin from Lewis Carroll, it would be a tunnel that goes “snicker snack!” and cuts off your head? Hrmm…

          Going by old school D&D rules, it would be a tunnel with infinite edge (objects are either vorpal or not, the word implies an absolute). Syndrome implies a set of symptoms without necessarily a defined cause.

          Then maybe it would be something like a disease without a known vector wherein these vorpal tunnels spontaneously occur. Perhaps they connect to distant worlds or realities and let monsters in or something.

          You came up with it, now *you* get to write the story! ;p

          1. Ugh, now I see ‘Vore-pal’ and THAT is .. disconcerting. I suspect such could a rapid end to any concert. Well, maybe not a Yoko Ono concert. Alas.

        2. Self-limiting superweapon: Every time you cut off something’s head with the sword, your wrist hurts more, and it doesn’t get better. It’s fine day to day, but pick up the sword and OMG. By the time you get to the Big Bad, merely thinking about cutting off his head puts you into sweats and PTSD.

  50. To your earlier point, I used to ask my dad why we didn’t fix our own car (because I wanted to learn how to do it) and why we didn’t fix our own plumbing (because all my friends dad’s fixed their own plumbing). His response was that he was well paid to be a good college professor and he didn’t want to deprive the mechanic and the plumber of the income from doing what they were good at. There’s something to be said for that viewpoint, looking back.

  51. The day after I took my last drink, my office mate said, “May you have a long, slow recovery.” I was 41 then and will turn 73 next month, so it’s been pretty long, and my heavens it’s been slow, but it’s still happening and still getting better. The idea behind Plato’s cave is that those who see the outside pop back in and tell the masses stuck looking at the shadows on the wall what’s going on. That’s you. Keep up your recovery and remember, slow is a feature, not a bug.

  52. My donation isn’t about paying it forward, it’s about paying it back for all the enjoyment that your writing has given me.
    Thank you!

        1. Yeah, he’s talked about it. Surfing is one of those sports that when you learn as a little kid, it sticks with you for your entire life.

  53. Amy is right, it is a delight to do nice things for people when we can. Someday, i might not be able to do things for others, but while i can, i will and enjoy it. And i’ve not spent enough time in Denver to encounter you, but if i did, i totally would pay your bill, tho i would probably be presumptuous enough to introduce myself to you.

  54. Inflection points. I’ve been thinking about that lately. We just got back from a successful, albeit extremely stressful, house-hunting trip to Texas. Rentals are worse than buying there right now! One place wanted vaccination records for the cat before they’d consider our application!! WTH??

    But, it worked. It felt good to be there, we had dinner with a mutual friend, and she’s promised to introduce us to many more of the north TX crowd. It’s going to be a stretch, but it feels right. So, we’ve hit the inflection point and we’re turning into the next adventure. Now, I just have to balance writing and packing. Easy-peasy…right? Right?

      1. If I ever win the lottery (cash payout), I’m going to invite a bunch of writer buddies to either Canadian, Texas or to book all the cabins in Palo Duro Canyon state park and have a writers’ retreat/hang-out/epic game of liars poker. Which means I’d probably better think about buying a ticket.

        1. means I’d probably better think about buying a ticket.

          Anytime there is a big payout, and we actually notice, the joke in our household is “Hey! That was suppose to be ours! …. Guess we should have bought a ticket, huh?”

          Honestly? I’m not sure how to buy a ticket … (I know it is easy. Not the point.)

  55. from now on I’m retired from the house-remodeling business
    That was my GOAL. With the sale of the Denver house, I could finally afford to pay someone else to do it. Apparently, everyone else moving here had the same thought. Can’t find contractors that are not booked through next summer.

    On the other hand, unlike Sarah, I’m not doing anything else with my oh-so-(not)-valuable time, so remodeling it is. I try for one small task per day. Saturday was ripping off the trim around the kitchen windows to get a final measurement for cabinet height (because we want the countertop to be the window sill). Sunday was ripping off the floor moulding and taking up the vinyl floor. Lo and behold, there’s another one underneath. Ugh.

    I first stumbled on Sarah when she published the A Novel in 13 Weeks series for PJMedia. I’ve failed at that (by well over an order of magnitude), but have been reading the blog ever since. Writing doesn’t seem to be my calling, but I’m very glad it is Sarah’s. Please write – leave the remodeling to professionals and those of us who don’t have anything better to do.

  56. while driving past miles and miles of forest in Pennsylvania … and realizing everything the media had fed me about America and the world in general (overpopulated/overpoluted, etc) was wrong.

    Every so often, if we are blest (and awake) we catch a glimpse of the world as it really is. Some call it red-pilled, some call it a glance backstage, some call it Newton’s apple (Oh! Things fall down, never up) and we see the world in a new way, a truer way, if we’re so lucky. We discover that much of what we’ve been led to believe about the World “just ain’t so.”

    Ad then Reality changes.

    Legend claims this was played in Yorktown, in 1781, at the event of which I presume you are already aware. It is a true thing, as true as Narnia and Puddleglum’s rebuttal to the witch in the green kyrtle.

    Such things as once undreamt are suddenly real, and the world is turned upside down and becomes a better place.

    Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.

  57. Some days I go ‘I wonder what so and so (okay, often, but not always RES…) will say about this thought I had!’

    Oh good grief, don’t be a’wonderin’ such things! That wallaby’s insane and has a mind as wanders into strange fields and plucks bouquets of puns.

    Not to mention being a bad typist with a faulty keyboard. If you spend your time pondering such a query ’tis likely ye’ll start a thinking in the same pathways as the wallaby and never again be fit human company.

    Besides, while appreciative of the compliment, I’m getting too old, tired, gimpy, and peculiar* to be replying to such thoughts as often as once I would, and it’s a terrible thing for wondering thoughts to go unanswered; they often wander into odd byways and pick up strays.

    *Okay – I acknowledge the wallaby’s thinking could hardly get more peculiar and still be recognizable as thought …

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