It took me very long to get published, compared to normal humans who set out on this path. Depending on how you look at it, from first mailing something out to first sale — at half cent a word, a short story — it took me either 13 or 16 years. Though you have to understand that most of that time I was either not writing or not submitting, because life events had overtaken me. (In that sense, I suppose life is not much different now.)

Mostly,mind you, my ever-breaking down body. (Fifty nine years of not dying and counting.) But also moves across the country, kids and other stuff that needed done. (So, as I said, normal.)

Still even at the most generous of ways of looking at it, say it took me nine years of active trying: that’s approximately three times longer than it took other people who started at the same time or shortly after to get to that same place.

Now everything is up-ended, because Indie is different, and even if you intend to be traditionally published (why dude? Rats in head?) you’d be a fool not to publish and earn n indie as soon as you can.

I actually wonder if it would have taken me less time now to make significant (or measurable, eh) money in the new path, and/or if I’d have managed it all.

There’s no way to answer that, you see. We’re creatures of our time as much as creatures of our place. No matter how American I’ve become (apparently very, judging by how I rub the birth-relatives JUST wrong) I’ll always have my roots deep in a little Portuguese place that no longer exists in any meaningful way. (And most of the people who shaped me then sleep beneath the marble in the old cemetery.)

And no matter how successful I get at indie (I will. I’m like the energizer bunny. I might slow down, but I don’t actually know how to stop) I not only came up through trad, but I came up by a path that technically didn’t exist, already, by the time I used it.

Which probably didn’t help with the speed of the breaking in, and is part of expectations, you know?

I had grown up reading about people who had broken into writing and their path to success, and it went something like “Did a bunch of odd jobs, then started writing. The writing was unsuccessful for a while, then I broke in with a short story that paid me 1/4 c a word (I can no longer remember if my first was a fourth or a half cent. Eh.) And then I sold at one cent a word. Then three cents. Then eventually pro. And then I sold a novel.”

By the time I came in, this path didn’t exist. There simply weren’t enough magazines that paid anything, much less that kind of ladder. I didn’t realize most of those people had made it in pulp days, when you made your bones in serials, even for novels.

But I didn’t know that. Being a person of a place as well as a time, I was a deep-outsider. And I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But if I were a gaming character, I’d have rolled the highest possible for stubbornness, to the point that it’s almost a super power. “Give me this granite head, and I will move mountains.”

So, having sent a first novel out and got it rejected, with a rejection I didn’t understand, I set out, cheerfully, to make my way in “as it should be done.” (In my head only, understand, but hey.)

Yes, yes, I got a personal rejection for my very first submission, and to me it was purest Chinese. The editor informed me that they would accept it if I changed the bio-engineered humans pronouns. That wasn’t possible (still isn’t, and you poor slobs will probably get the re-write of that book this year.) But more importantly, not knowing about the rats in the heads of sf/f editors (already in 85, yes) I thought it couldn’t be the REAL reason. I mean, they were somehow sparing my feelings.

So, I became convinced of two things: my language wasn’t good enough to pass for native (not actually wrong. It reads slightly stilted to me, now. But since I can’t stand outside and see myself write-by on the street, I don’t know if it was “good enough”) and that I must go in via short stories.

Now you have to understand my natural length is around 40k words. (Awkward, yes.) I had to learn to write both longer and shorter. And longer is MUCH easier.

But by gum, if I had to go via short stories, I was going to go via short stories. It took finding listings (hard at the time) for literary and little and “for the love” and it took submitting to some very sus places, but I sold something at either a quarter or a half cent, then got stuck in a half cent for a while, then sold at a cent, then…. then three cents, then, well, then it broke and I sold a novel, and started selling shorts at pro levels (6c for those who wonder) and sometimes at 10c a word. I might be the last pro to make it in that bizarre way. (If anyone ever writes my unauthorized bio, may I request you call it The Last Dirty Old Pro. “Dirty old pro” used to be what the wanna bes called us, because we’d “sold out” but in this case it fits, since I did get my hands dirty enough clawing up through the grubby levels. The equivalent of starting out on the shop floor.)

The problem, it turned out, was not my writing, nor the method of going in, and I could have saved myself time and tears if I’d understood the problem was expectations. (Still is in a way.)

People who read expect certain things. Editors and publishers expect certain things. The editor who rejected my first novel wanted the hermaphrodite characters to be “she” because that struck a blow for feminism. (It also doesn’t work. At all, not with those people.) They expected characters to act a certain way. (And boy, the “Portuguese politeness” that was ingrained then and which my characters acted like, was interpreted as passivity.) And then later, when I became published, I got hampered by the fact that my editors and publishers wanted me to write like “Latin immigrant who made it in despite everything.” Because that they could sell. But most of my characters don’t even have Portuguese names. Because frankly managing what people expect of Portuguese characters and the way those characters would be due to my deep knowledge is almost impossible. (Why I don’t write things set in Portugal. Because like translation, it is anchored in lies at both ends. Has to be to work. And I hate lying. It’s different than telling stories.)

Twice, once because the editor didn’t care, another because the editor was drunk, I was told specifically how they could make me big “write an autobiographical novel, with a bit of magic, and a lot of why you are oppressed.”

Yeah, no. I rolled plus three million for stubbornness, remember? And besides, the stories are for sale, the soul isn’t. If I am going to do something that destroys me, it might as well be driving an eighteen wheeler. (Trust me on this. Not with my coordination.)

And yes, this is one of the ways that being a white male is, as that arrant fool put it, “playing life on the easiest mode.” Sure, corporations will discriminate against you. Climbing up is hand over hand and very hard, while every woman and minority with three brain cells gets promoted or chosen ahead of you (remember I’ve been watching this for 30 years. Don’t argue. I’m an outsider. I see clearly) but at least you know the expectations in other people’s heads, including the idea that you’ve had it easy. And in writing you can write whatever crosses your head that day. No one wants to fit you into the box in THEIR heads.

I wouldn’t say it’s easy, precisely. But the expectations are manageable.

But it was the expectations that were the stumbling block; and it is a characteristic of those deep-expectations that they can’t even be voiced most of the time, and you’re not really aware of your own, much less other people’s.

Figuring out at least some of it helps greatly as a writer, because you can play with it. This is why I refer to writing as playing a chess game with yourself, and the other side is pretending to be the writer. (Um…. if/when I get to teaching, I should do one on expectations, and how to study them and set them up.)

It helps as a human, because you can then figure out why people are reacting oddly to you. (I think my next door neighbor thinks I’m addled, because I start projects, then disappear indoors for day. He must not have the slightest what’s going on. (Mostly auto-immune and writing.))

But it’s very difficult, because there’s a good chance the model for other people’s expectations that you create is wrong.

Heck, in your nearest and dearest: it took Dan and I years — 30 — to figure out why certain things really p*ssed the other off, and why the other was reacting that way to minor things. I mean, once I figured out that he got furious at my changing the place of things in the cabinet, because he thought I WAS DOING IT ON PURPOSE, I could explain that no, I actually don’t have a spacial memory. So, if the plates are all gone (say) I don’t remember where they go. Not the slightest. Yeah, in retrospect, I can see for a normal person that sounds insane. (I’m brain damaged from the circumstances of my birth, and that’s one of the areas I really am not normal.) And yet, it was the truth. But there are things we’re still working through at 38 years and counting, because we don’t even know how to vocalize it.

Anyway, why was I thinking about this today?

I woke up with the thought that particularly among Odds, the path is rarely straight, and I don’t actually have a single friend who started out to do what he now does for a living. (I do have one that does what his degree prepared him for, but he started out wanting to be an MD, he just didn’t get in.)

Maybe that’s normal in the normal run of populations, but then one wonders why degrees exist AT ALL? Still all my friends are Odds — or the vast majority. The others might be Odder than that — and the array of mismatch is glorious.

I know lawyers who are really writers; marine biologists who program computers; biology phds who teach; agricultural engineers who draw….. They are all moderately or very successful, but between the cup and the lip the cup was grabbed by aliens, anally probed and returned on the other side of the universe.

And me? Well, I was tame, you see. After seeing my brother (and cousin — oh, yes, the chemical engineer who is a teacher) be unemployed for years, I was going to take a degree that had multiple employment prospects, AND I could always default to teaching at full pay. Safe. Secure…

And then I married across the ocean. In my entire career, I used my time-expensive degree exactly three years. And wasn’t particularly happy any of those years.

Part of this is that Odds don’t meet anyone’s expectations, and we have our own expectations, which are usually demented when seen from outside. (See where I looked at a page rambling about pronouns and decided the issue was that my language wasn’t good enough.)

Something else — and I’ve seen this in sons and friends — is that the Odds — or as psychologists called it “Highly gifted” — bruise more easily. It was one of the things they told me about both my sons when they were tested (and they start at “profoundly gifted”. The other one is worse) is that they will feel hurt or be traumatized at things others will shrug off, and sometimes at things that make no sense to anyone outside their heads.

When I finally understood it — look, my expectations, okay — what made perfect sense to me was my spending weeks, as a 3 year old mourning grandma’s LAMP. No, seriously, they changed the kitchen light from regular to a big, fluorescent shop light. Given how huge the kitchen was, and how tall the ceiling, this makes perfect sense for adults. (Or sane people.) But the introverted, sensitive three year old a) personified the old lamp, wondering why it was being cast out. b) mourned the quality of the light which made the room warmer. I lacked the language to express it, so I sounded like a crazy kid.

If you dig down through the traumas in my psyche, you’ll probably find grief over a lamp being changed. It’s not sane, but it’s probably there.

And it’s not something normal people expect. They’d go “You’re very smart, so you’re super-logical, right?” Yeah, no.

So, if you’re reading this, you probably have a hell of a time managing expectations (yours and theirs.) You bruise with things other people don’t notice. You break with traumas that are only traumatic to you, and which will make everyone else laugh if they hear about them.

And to make things worse, because the classification by IQ or ability ranks you really high, you feel you should be over-achieving and curl up in the fetal position for years at the slightest failure, even if it’s not your fault. And then feel worse about THAT.

I’m here to tell you that’s all bullshit. It’s all expectations: yours, theirs, and the cat over there’s. (The cat thinks I set my alarm at 7 am every day to pet him. Actually it’s to take the thyroid pills. But we argue about it every single morning, and sometimes pills get spilled all over the sheets as a result.)

You’re allowed to fail as much as the next guy. Actually probably more than the next guy (or girl, or dragon) because in many ways you’re such an outlier that you’re an alien in this world of humans.

If you really want to do something? You’ve got to brazen it out, and realize you’re the only one who is judging yourself for “failure.” You probably fail for other people, too, but in ways they don’t even realize they’re judging you on. Mostly I suspect you just jangle all their nerves by being really weird. Ignore them and forge on.

And you know what? Grab a corner of my mantle of stubbornness. I have enough to cover all of you. And again, “give me this granite head. I will move the world.”

Tell yourself you’re only being an autistic energizer bunny because Sarah A. Hoyt expects you to be. I do.

If I can do it, you can do it. Here’s my hand. Here’s my boot to the bootie.

Let’s climb.

As far up as you want to go.

We’re gonna get it done.

231 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. I teared up reading the last quarter of this, the part about bruising easily, because that’s all me. I get good reviews at work and can only say “eh, yeah, but I’m just fooling them because I’m lazy and I suck.” So I will gladly take a tiny piece of that mantle of stubbornness and push forward. Thank you, Sarah.

      1. He is neither lazy nor sucky. He has a functioning work ethic and a committment to Doing It Right because he SAID he would. This is a significant part of why I married him. (neener, dear, you have been complimented from the other room. <3)

        And yeah. We’re a family of three gifted introverts and sometimes this makes things hard for any/all of us.

    1. OK, Agent Moose. You are lazy, your writing is lousy, BUT you are brilliant at deceiving the buying public and THAT is your true secret super power! Go forth, write, and continue your successful infiltration of the writing world. 😉

      1. Sadly, I am not able to deceive the buying public because I don’t write books. 🙂 I test software, when I’m not bemoaning the latest Stupid Initiative at my office or watching a YouTube video to try and get my head focused or petting a cat because ditto. I wish I could write. Well, I can write, I just don’t have any stories scratching to get out. I leave that to my lovely self-published wife, who’s currently working on YA novella #4.

        Impostor syndrome, however, strikes regardless of profession. That, I very much suffer from. And even after 35 years in IT, it’s only getting worse.

        1. I test software

          Tipping Hat

          Not something I can do. Test as I develop, yes. Test to test? No.

          1. Hm. I was given the responsibility to test because if something was broken, I WOULD find it. Or it would find me. Or something. Glad I left that job behind…

    2. Yeah, I’ve often said I feel like other people were born with an extra layer of skin I don’t have. It’s frustrating.

  2. Expectations are fun. I recently started reading the Wheel of Time series, because I found out it was both finished, and the author who wrapped it up after the original did a very good job of it.

    However, somewhere along the line Id managed to get my mental image of that series confounded with the Diskworld books. Also a good series, I have been told, and also a series I have not yet read.

    These are not the same sort of stories…

    1. I’m sure somebody could write the crossover you accidentally invented there, but I don’t think it’s me.

    2. Discworld isn’t so much a series, as it is a very large number of books that share a setting. That’s not to say that things don’t happen. But it’s not a series in the normal sense of the word.

      Still, someone who read one of the early books featuring the Unseen University, who then jumped to one of the later books featuring the Unseen University, might be left scratching their head.

      There’s no overall arching plot or plot arc. And sometimes we’ll get a book that’s about stuff, and with characters, that’s never touched on again (Pyramids comes to mind). But things do happen, and the place changes over time.

      1. Well, there are series within it. There’s the Rincewind series, the Death series, the Guards series, the Witches series, with a few standalones like Small Gods*, Moving Pictures (in which the faculty of the Unseen University graduate from being a running gag in the early Rincewind series, to strong secondary characters that pop up all through the various series), and Pyramids (in which the guild of assassin’s is fleshed out).

        *My recommendation as the place to start.

  3. On the difference between odds and normals, my SO is decidedly normal, and she did end up working in her degree, at least until staying home to raise the little ones.

    However, the oldest is probably going to be distinctly odd. Even at about 2-3 she’s got enough spa coal reasoning to understand the little car thing doesn’t roll because the wheels weren’t installed, and had a pretty decent idea of where the wheels needed to go.

    However, spinning fans and certain other things completely freak her out, and if she doesn’t see certain people every couple of days she gets very anxious about where they’ve gone.

    Will be interesting times.

  4. I cried at the same place as Anonymoose.
    Everything I’m doing now feels so huge, and I’ve discovered a tendency to self-shame when I decide to make the pragmatic decision to get a job so I don’t starve while I build my soap business and write and learn to draw and….
    “If you weren’t such a loser, you’d be able to move to another state and start a business and be profitable before your move money runs out. Loser.” That’s what I was hearing in my head.
    I told that person to shut up.

    If Sarah can do it, and if I can grab onto her hand, I’m not letting go. Not ever. Not.Damned.Ever.

    1. You moved to another state leaving family behind, to start over. AND you’re creating a business! You are SO NOT a loser! Evict that voice from your head immediately!

      1. All the thoughts in my head saw The Professor and ran like scared rabbits!

        It’s so crazy true that when I see it in print, I laugh. Having someone else put down true words is the key to going “Oh, yeah. No kidding….”

        Thanks. 🙂

    2. Feels like I walked along a similar path….

      A few years back the voice in my head was tormenting me too: “You suck. You’re not half as good an engineer as you think you are, and now everyone else knows it too. That’s why you can’t get another job. Loser.”

      I remember reading Sarah again and again: “Despair is a sin.”

      That kept me going.

      Be good to yourself.

      1. Thanks so much. The sincerity of your comment touched me so I’m a little weepy, in that good, “I’m seen” way.
        There’s a reason I come to Sarah’s blog every day.
        Despair is indeed a sin.

        1. Persevered seems like the best word. I’ve managed to stay ahead of the axe and keep putting bread on the table the last few years; but ‘surviving’ is about what I’d call it – certainly not ‘triumphing’….

          1. Your survival is an inspiration to the crowd of us who are persevering and wondering if anyone else is, too.
            Doesn’t it seem like it takes “everything” to just stand up straight and keep going? Like walking against the wind just after the hurricane passes and it’s still blowing at something like 50 knots.

            1. Kathy, you don’t how discouraged I got.

              First time I was let go as I was finishing my degree, I took solace in that the company actually kept me on 3 months longer than they’d planned. Confidence booster. Granted they knew I was quitting Memorial Day, just before dead week and finals, as the baby was due after that but could come anytime. Firm so small they didn’t have to have paternity leave (a firm that is still down to one employee to this day, 34 years later). Then I got my first job after graduation and baby, with the first job I applied to.

              When that job went away, only took me 6 months to find a new job, not that many interviews, and first interview after “skills update”, when over 40. Total time without paycheck + unemployment, 2 weeks (timber company so dislocated workers benefits applied … it helped). But when this job went away … 17 months of either “overqualified”, or “if the top choice says no thanks” (which they never did), or “going in a different direction”, or … + watching our immediate (not over all, we were financially more stable than that) savings drain, while hubby worked 60 hours a week (salary not exempt, so +OT, 6 AM – 6 PM M-F). Not that his hours changed after I got work. But the reason he was stationed there was because his work PTB got word that I wasn’t working and he wouldn’t quit over it. We talked about it. But they are the only game in our area for what he does. When I did take a job it was for one of those ads that it is too hard to dismiss as phishing or fraud. No company name. Just a PO Box for the resume and cover letter, in those days, in the newspaper classified ads for entry level programmer.

              It is depressing. Keep at it. You’ve got this.

              1. D, thanks. Really. I’ve got that empathy lump in my throat.
                Your words? I can hang on to them and say “Today, I will look for the best for the best, and that’s me.”

          2. Ironically, for my career, I didn’t know how good I had it. First two software related, while small firms, were really just “learning”, and getting established, with no career track. My jobs after them, starting 1990, were career track. But do not seem to be standard for the software industry, unless you are developing and selling your own product:

            No software reviews. Not one.
            No limited to no oversight, even if I’m wasn’t the only person working on a system.
            Internal review was based on client feedback. Period. Granted first 12 years were internal client feedback. But the last 12 years were 100% external client feedback.
            Only 6 years in 45 years had to deal with “But this is the deadline promised” and the “not by me it wasn’t” pressure.

            I’m sure I’m missing something that other software/IT/programmers complain about. But honestly, might have a clue or two, but no long term exposure at my jobs.

          3. Simple survival can be a triumph.

            There have been times in my life where my long-term goal was “make it to the end of the day”.

            Put your head down, and trudge.

      1. Thanks, Sarah.
        It’s an ancient Mother-based script that’s tortured me my entire life. I’m learning to reject it.

        1. It was from my stepfather rather than my mother but that’s a script I have a hard time fighting too, especially when things go wrong or I’m stuck in one kind of limbo or another.

  5. “…wanted the hermaphrodite characters to be “she” because ….”

    I think it was a Dashiell Hammett mystery/detective submission that was refused by the editor because one of his villains went ‘on the morning glory lay’ (Stole clothes off clotheslines.) which sounded obscene to the editor. So! DH removed M G lay from the story and introduced the word gunsel, that at that point didn’t mean hoodlum.

    1. Well, “morningglory” did tend to mean things like “nekkid before you put clothes on.” So “the morning glory lay” would mean “the crime that deprives people of clothes and makes them go nekkid.”

      It is possible that the slang was just talking about vines = clotheslines, but that doesn’t seem like a good enough joke for thieves’ cant.

      So the editor wasn’t wrong, per se. Either Hammett didn’t understand the implications as well as the editor, or he just didn’t think its implications were offensive enough to matter.

        1. It sounds like a cartoon, doesn’t it?

          Editor: That poor naive Hammett doesn’t understand bad words.

          Hammett: That poor naive editor… man, I’m going to put in a doozie.

  6. I’m giving this to number one son to read. He’s been writing stories on and off for years and has actually gotten some good feedback from his fan fiction but he thinks he sucks. The autism doesn’t really help, but he has no self esteem at all.

    Somewhat off topic, but connected in my lizard brain, China has announced that WuFlu will be eliminated in Shanghai by tomorrow morning. this is a “military order”. And everyone must do their part in this “military crisis.” Oh and the China vaccine is 100% effective at preventing death which is why the WuFlu rates are high but deaths are not. 😂. Another time I’ll go over China GDP. Still, this seems very dangerous to me.

    I think that what connects to the post it is that I spent my life studying Europe, it’s history, languages, etc., and then spent a good part of my professional career working in Asia about which I knew nothing — I do now, but I had no interest in it, still don’t actually, it’s just how I earn the living.

    1. Para 1: This morning I wound up thinking along parallel lines to what Sarah wrote here.

      There are people who whom this stuff is very definitely extremely important. Who find themselves pretty unhappy because they can’t see how to explain what they /can/ do to others, not even well enough to convince themselves.

      It feels like there are at least three entangled issues. How well can youngster A make the predictions associated with evaluating training B? Nobody has complete information for making these predictions perfectly. How well does a training or certificate map to a future type of economic activity? Or rather, how do the market baskets or collections of these map? Three, given that we aggregate both trainings and economic activities to describe them with reduced information, what is the cost of the aggregation and reduction?

      One of the costs is in our expectations. We can fit our categories, models and mappings close to apparently similar types of frequent personality, training, and economic activity. We look at someone common we have a name for, check that, and by large numbers and averaging we frequently get a match to our expected map. Which tends to make us drastically overestimate the reliability of the whole exercise. Which means, for a really weird person, they can think ‘other people apparently match this model, I obviously do not, must be something wrong with me’.

      With any depressive tendencies, it can inspire a lot of spiraling down.

      It can be difficult to find people to talk with about the issues of attempting to make complex models. So, it can certainly be difficult to convince oneself, ‘no, the issue really is in the decision to take these models as more credible than they are’. Modeling complexity is probably the wrong approach for reaching a lot of the people who struggle with these issues. Because it is one of the ‘need a foundation in it, before you really start to ‘see’ it’ things.

  7. Yup when I failed out of Nuke school it REALLY jacked with my head FOR YEARS. I’d never EVER failed at anything I actually tried to pass. I had no idea WHY there was a requirement to write down 2+2=4 six times in the same math equation. Still don’t understand that bit 30 years later. On a timed test it seems to me that demonstrating that you grasp the principle of something once should be enough, after that the ANSWER is the goal so I skipped the minutia got all the right answers in time to have a smoke before time was called but failed the tests while the idiot that sat next to me who was still scribbling away until the instructor physically removed the pencil from his hand managed to PASS while adding 2+2 and somehow calling it 5 or 3 or 7 while never coming CLOSE to a correct final answer.

    1. Sounds like that test was the exact opposite of the entrance exam in Men In Black. Not too stupid to learn but dull enough to never really get all of it was their sweet spot, and you made the mistake of already knowing the answers.

      1. I don’t know anything about submarines, but I do know that the selection process was supposedly very idiosyncratic. Possibly you really were failed out for being too good. But possibly they just wanted somebody who is an i-dotter and t-crosser and apparently-stupid-rule-follower, because submarines are freaking dangerous, as well as a risk-taker (because submarines are freaking dangerous).

        This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Jimmuh Cartuh obviously took the micromanagement too far; and yet he managed to get in, which argues that he was a really good test-taker/adaptive conformist.

        But also, it probably means that you wouldn’t have been happy on submarines in the US submarine culture. (I gather that French submarines were pretty fun. But you know, French.)

    2. That might have been an effort to see who was willing to take short cuts. And Rickover was known to kick people out of his boats for taking even little bitty short cuts, because as far as he was concerned, there are no short cuts when it comes to nukes.

        1. In the military, the subject of the test is rarely the actual subject of the test.

          My first major was cartography (before I learned that I’m completely unable to draw) and I used to backpack as a hobby, so I was sure that I was fully prepared to fly through land navigation. (And admittedly, was. I was pretty much always our squad’s navigator.)
          Then I encountered the “maps” the military uses for land navigation testing.
          It’s a bit unsettling to run across major ravines that aren’t on the map.
          But that’s after seeing the grid lines that weren’t straight or uniform. On a smeared photocopy of a photocopy that had been repeatedly changed in size with every iteration, and is most definitely not at anything approaching a normal scale.
          It’s before discovering that the target boxes, which were supposed to be 100m apart by the map coordinates, were actually laid out 1000m apart.
          It’s been over 20 years, and I’m still ready to wax wroth about it.
          (There were much easier versions, since everybody had to eventually pass land nav. The utterly clustered versions were for those the staff or brass wanted to “challenge” for one reason or another. After the first two times, I took to swapping assignments with someone who was going to need help to pass, and hooked them up with that help on their retry.)

    3. Because many, many accidents happen when you have people who know what the intended outcome should be, so they start skipping the steps between, and shortening things by rules of thumb… and then the bright people behind them create shortcuts to the shortcuts, and you end up reducing a 47-step checklist to “glance at this guage, then hit this, then when it comes up to this, pull that.”

      Which works great… until it doesn’t.

      So they’re looking for people who will do the full checklist Every. Single. Time.

      Which is tedious, and boring, and safe. Every. Single. Time.

      1. they’re looking for people who will do the full checklist Every. Single. Time.

        So. Not Me.

        I’m of the “this should work, lets try this”. No? Okay. What is Step 1? But … I guess that isn’t always the “right” approach.

        I learned this when I had to help testing department for testing software I wrote. I had to restart most sections of tests multiple times, thus taking way longer than the process was suppose to take, because kept getting into “I know this works”, because I tested it before handing it off to testing (100% true, but didn’t count). Sigh. And, I helped write the test parameters because I know what kicked our butts on earlier releases. Also last time I was loaned out to do that. It isn’t that I didn’t test what I write, I did 100% and regularly. But I never cohesively tested what I wrote to the standards of a dedicated testing process.

        1. If Aviation had a 1% error rate, we’d kill over a thousand people a day.
          In this, nuclear and aviation agree: it’s notthe first shortcut that kills. But every fatal accident always, always has an error chain that could have been interrupted and avoided if people hadn’t taken the shortcut.

          1. My Dad was a pilot and a mountaineer. He was religious about using written checklists on every flight, every climb, no matter how routine or small. Every.Single.Time. I never saw him cheat.
            He had a routine with his climbing ropes that my sister and I were talking about just yesterday. He coiled it once, uncoiled it, then recoiled it with that special braid climbers use, very, very slowly, tugging each loop knot until it was just-so, then making the next loop.
            (He never did anything that didn’t involve challenging death. He passed that trait on to moi. He flew. I did SCUBA.)

            1. Hubby and I are like that with backpacking. I do understand the trait and the need.

              I’m that way now with hiking with our small dog. Or even traveling with her. Especially in national parks where dogs are not allowed for reasons. I don’t know if the prep we do works if ever confronted by a wild animal. But were prepared. Actually we are prepared to avoid animals on the trail, period. (JIC … She is a service animal. It is my right to have her with me on trails.)

              1. My Dad was a volunteer park ranger at Mount Rainier for years. He never minded dogs anywhere (regardless of the rules) as long as they were good boys and girls.
                You take your dog where you damn please.

                1. One of $SPOUSE’s relatives was on Search and Rescue and did a lot of work on Rainier. They always packed enough body bags for the case at hand, and had to use them fairly often. That’s a mountain that really doesn’t like shortcuts.

                  (The Wonderland trail at Rainier NP looked attractive, but my backpacking days were spent in California, usually at elevations where minor screwups meant minor problems. Learned about shortcuts and problems from them… By the time we got to high elevation packs in the Sierras, crossing the ‘t’s was burnt into our psyches.)

                  1. We were raised with the awareness that we could die in the mountains, regardless, and we took it seriously. I still take my 11 essentials (#11 is the Glock) when I hike/fish in the backcountry.
                    I cannot tell you the number of people who giggled at the idea of hiking to Camp Muir in tennis shoes and shorts and a T-shirt. Sometimes they came back late that day chagrined. Many times they had to be rescued, and came back either hypothermic or dead.
                    The Mountain makes its own weather, and does not suffer fools gladly.

                    1. That applies to every part of nature. It’s a maxim that the sea will try its best to kill you if you don’t show it the respect it deserves. The same applies to the air, the mountains (or deserts) and, even more so, to space. Both Heinlein and Ringo dealt with this issue in various stories. No part of nature suffers fools gladly, or indeed at all. IOW. reality always bites, and always gets the last word (something our current crop of “betters” would do well to keep in mind, but won’t; color me unsympathetic).

                    2. Oh, yes. For sure. I got SCUBA certified due to a lifelong affliction with that sort of thing. I don’t do it anymore because I don’t like 99% of what you have to do for the really cool 1%. And I don’t really like the water unless I’m fishing and then it’s rivers and lakes more than open water.
                      But if you can get hurt and/or die as a result of not paying attention? Sign.Me.Up.

                    3. When I lived in WA, we had some friends from CA visiting and we decided to go see Ape Cave near Mt. St. Helens. I had done some reading about the cave, and told my friends to bring a winter weight jacket, hat, gloves, sturdy shoes, and at least one flashlight each, all of which they did. We parked in the lot, got out and donned our cold weather gear to the vast amusement of the other visitors, most of whom were in summer clothes, the younger teens in tee-shirts and shorts, etc. Totally appropriate for the Fourth of July, right?

                      We clambered down the steep stairs to the first gathering spot, where the docent spent about 20 minutes or so explaining the history of the cave, etc. By the time she had finished, all the summer-dressed visitors were shivering and nearly blue with the cold, and they all clambered back up the ladders as soon as they could, forgoing the exploration of the lava tube itself.

                      A tiny bit of research would have told them the cave is a balmy 42º F (5.6ºC) year round, and winter-weight clothing is strongly recommended. 😉

                      Ape Cave is a 2.5 mile long lava tube which splits about where the entrance is. We hiked the easier side, and at one point we were fairly distant from other parties in front and behind us. So we formed a loose circle, turned off our flashlights, and just stood motionless in the utterly black silence for several minutes, seeing nothing and hearing only our own heartbeats. Definitely an interesting experience.

                    4. Oregon Cave is the same.

                      Lava Tube near the Desert Museum south of Bend can still have ice back in it, in high heat of August.

                      I’ve seen 3″ of fresh snow, on the ground, July 6th, on Hwy 242, 6″ as hiked into the North Mathew Lake. Very wet cold snow. People not prepared were in T.R.O.U.B.L.E., 100%. (The reason we weren’t in there in a tent when the storm hit? My dad was in emergency surgery the day we were suppose to hike in. We delayed the trip until doctors knew he was out of danger. Storm hit that night. We went in prepared to stay. With the snow, as wet as it was, went NOPE, and hiked out. We had the gear. Just nope.) People not prepared in the Cascades, this isn’t even Rainer, St Helen, The Sisters, or Olympic Mt, can die of exposure.

                      You’d better believe, the youth, and the adults, had pack inspection, the packs, packed in rigs and locked up (bring first night sandwich), before the long Cascade backpacking trips. Every trip youth came back with “It Snowed! In August!” (Never lasted long. Never enough for a good snowball fight. But it lasted long enough …)

                2. Huge fine if *caught. As we constantly get told by other tourists, likely locals that are in the parks regularly. This is with her marked as a service dog. The patches are not legally required, but requested by the Park Rangers so they won’t approach handlers on the trail. At trail heads if they see you going in, yes, to warn of the trail dangers, but on the trail, no. I’ve also learned to reply “I have the right to have my medical alert with me” to the more persistent VS “have my dog with me”; Or testy “Medical Alert”. MMV

                  FYI. Your dad’s view is the Canadian NP view. “Sure take your pet on the trail, on a leash, pick up after it. We don’t **recommend it. But you can take your pet.”

                  This includes any pet that is carried and not directly “on the trail” as people have discovered.
                  ** For a whole list of reasons. 😉

                  1. Now, the meadows were another story entirely. Dad would nail you with a ticket if you looked too long at them, much less walked on them.

      2. Accidents.

        Most ‘accidents’ are nothing of the sort unless they involve meteorites or lightning. Most of the time, not even lightning. There are things you can do to reduce the chances of being struck by lightning.

        My opinions on ‘accidental discharge’ would burn your ears off. Like the case a few months ago where Alec Baldwin made a whole series of stupid mistakes that led to shooting two people. Or the persecutor prosecutor in the Rittenhouse trial pointing an AR-15 at the jury with a finger on the trigger. I would have laughed my ass off if that idiot had shot a hole in the wall above the jury box.

        “But— But— It wasn’t loaded!”
        “Did you check?”
        “But it wasn’t loaded!”
        “You dumbshit!!”

        If I had been on that jury:

        “Juror #8, why did you get out of your seat?”
        “Sorry, Your Honor, I just don’t like it when idiots point guns at me.”

        1. If I had been on that jury:

          “Juror #8, why did you get out of your seat?”
          “Sorry, Your Honor, I just don’t like it when idiots point guns at me.”

          So, what would have happened if a juror had not only hit the deck (getting out their seat) but done so while screeching at the top of their lungs at said idiot along with “he’s innocent, you are guilty”? Inquiring minds want to know. Okay, probably just screaming, but still. — Yes. I was raised by hunters. Yes. I aced the hunters test before and after taking the class. So did dad. (Premise was to show what students, and parents knew before class, and what they’d learned. Not that there wasn’t anything to learn. Just wasn’t tested on that. Parents were encouraged to stay. Dad ended up helping the deputy sheriff’s teach, I don’t remember why, dad was not in law enforcement nor did he carry a gun on the job.)

          I also speculate that the only reason the jury took so long to come back with innocent on all charges was they had to take time to discuss the idiot prosecutor, and layout plans on how to mess with him. Then acted on those plans. After all the longer it takes to come back with a verdict supposedly that means they are finding the defendant guilty on one or more charges.

          I find it interesting that there is nothing, absolutely nothing coming out from the jurors on what happened in the jury room. Jurors were on the news after OJ’s trial. Often blanked out. I guess Rittenhouse Jurors figured no one needed any help believing what their decision was based on except idiots, and who cares about the idiots.

          1. “I find it interesting that there is nothing, absolutely nothing coming out from the jurors on what happened in the jury room. Jurors were on the news after OJ’s trial. Often blanked out. I guess Rittenhouse Jurors figured no one needed any help believing what their decision was based on except idiots, and who cares about the idiots.”

            Probably had something to do with having to run the SturmANTIFA gauntlet every day outside the courthouse, realizing that the media was serving as the mob’s intelligence arm (remember the incident of the producer following the jury bus?), and deciding that discretion is the better part of valor.

            Frankly, it’s somthing of a miracle they had the courage not to just find Rittenhouse guilty so they could go home and not worry about the mob.

            1. (remember the incident of the producer following the jury bus?), and deciding that discretion is the better part of valor.

              Frankly, it’s somthing of a miracle they had the courage not to just find Rittenhouse guilty so they could go home and not worry about the mob.

              I agree. I expected at best a hung jury and he’d have to go through this again. Instead they had the courage to not only find him innocent, but innocent loud enough to keep federal prosecutors away.

              I half figured a few might go with a more conservative outlet (Fox) for an exclusive, with no visible person, and modified voice. Just a F* You to the mob intelligence arm. After all Fox had an exclusive to follow Rittenhouse during the trial and a long interview afterwards.

      3. I like boring. I like safe. These things are warm fuzzy socks and hot chocolate on a cold day compared to having to make decisions with low (or no) pertinent information and heavy consequences for failure.

        The fact that I have been judged to be somewhat good, or at least passable at the latter to the point I keep being given responsibilities in line with that rather than my preferred way of doing things has been a matter of no little frustration over the years.

        I know how to do the “I can make it work. Just don’t ask me how I did it,” dance. That doesn’t mean I like it.

      4. I just got burned by that (not my shortcut, but the teller at the bank). $SPOUSE and I have separate accounts at this place because reasons, but we’re both signers on each other’s savings. Her savings went idle for a while, and a month or two ago, I had to deposit some money in her savings to eliminate the flag of shame dormancy.

        Monday, I thought I’d do the same for my savings. Deposited a bit of money, and made an appointment for some unrelated business. OK, fine. Until I went to enter receipts in the money program, and I saw that the receipt said my money went into $SPOUSE’s savings. Arggh! Either my account didn’t show (wasn’t supposed to be dormant, but…), or the teller just saw “savings” and went with the first one that showed up. She did not question the painfully obvious discrepancy. SMH.

        So, another bit of business to do the next time I’m there. I’m just glad it wasn’t a substantial amount of money.

        1. We ran into a similar problem at a bank almost 40 years ago. We sold something for $350, 40 or so years ago. Deposited check the next day. Here was the kicker. Their bank was our bank, which meant it was essentially “same as cash”. The cashier? Deposited it into our account and withdrew the check from our account. Same account. Not like teller deposited it to savings and took it out of checking, or the opposite; still would have been incorrect. This was a time when we were still young, without a lot of extra in the financial pocket. That $350 was an extra cushion. Note that was a $700 account error (which in those days was almost a net paycheck). By taking the money out of our account we had incoming payments that were going to bounce, hard. I was at the bank as employees were arriving, the next banking day. Got lucky catching manager so someone was working on it before bank opened. They got it fixed. What can I say, at a young 20-somthing, panic over financial issues came easy, because “somehow” obviously, it was our (my) fault. Now? It is well dang it. Now what did they do? Still a PIA to straighten out 🙂 I don’t remember how we caught it because this was before online was available. Had to be that we got the month end statement in the mail about a week later that showed the error. Naturally we hadn’t copied the check information down.

          Recently we got a second bill from the property tax department. What the hell? I paid that in full, early. But S* paid through bank who sent either a check or sent it electronic (or PIA to get confirmation). Double checked, yep, paid required amount. Read letter. Yes, their “fault”. Okay. Still owed extra money. The Rural Fire Department was suppose to charge $0.35/$1000 assessed but only charged $0.035/$1000. For us, with our 3% discount for paying in full early, was only $58.88, but still. Payment already triggered. Still Their error.

          1. I once made a large ATM deposit — substantially more than the several hundred dollars in the account — and was then unable to withdraw 40 bucks. Went inside, and several bank employees spent a long time explaining to me why depositing a lot of money meant that I couldn’t withdraw any of the money that was already in the account until the deposit cleared.

            They did not succeed.

            Ever since then, if I deposit money and withdraw some, I always make the withdrawal FIRST.
            At my house, the ‘things that go bump in the night’ are cats.

            1. explaining to me why depositing a lot of money meant that I couldn’t withdraw any of the money that was already in the account until the deposit cleared.

              They did not succeed.

              Blink. Wait? What?

              We’ve had funds deposited held for required *10 days (well past when personal check of payer cleared, because we knew the payer, which is why we accepted the personal check), but we were still able to withdraw/transfer the funds in the account from other sources regardless of before or after the held funds. Difference? Didn’t use an ATM deposit. But don’t see how that makes any difference.

              Any personal check over $5200.

            2. I can explain, though can’t make you agree it’s a good idea, since I also think it’s stupid….

              It’s the end result of some a-hole stealing.

              Actually, a whole series of a-holes stealing.

              So, you’re stuck with the equivalent of someone having trouble getting out the window during a fire, because there’s all the “keep people from breaking in to take your stuff” measures in the way.

              1. I figured. Agree. I couldn’t make me, or you, believe the reasoning either.

                If I have $1000 already deposited. Deposit another $1000, they should prevent me from withdrawing $1200, because the $1000 of the now $2000 deposit hasn’t been verified. But they shouldn’t prevent me from withdrawing any amount of the original $1000 (minus any account required minimum balance). But I guess that might be “too hard” of a programming problem, for them …

                I’d have been irritated too. Also would do what you are doing. Withdrawal before depositing anything. Not that we use the ATM to deposit, ever.

                1. I worked as a bank teller and the level of criminal fraud against senior citizens is epidemic. I’m guessing that a lot of these weirdo rules come from family members ripping off their elderly relatives.
                  I’ll ask my sister. She’s still in the back-end of banking and knows everything.

                  1. That would make a lot of sense….
                    “Nah, mom, don’t worry, I’ll just go deposit the envelope full of cash into the ATM. You stay here in the car, where it’s warm!”
                    Two weeks later.
                    “Gosh, the bank says that the ATM deposit only had a twenty in it, not two thousand. Are you sure that you put ALL the cash in there? Anyways, the teller caught it in time, so there’s no fraud charges–“

                    1. My younger brother…. “Oh, I’ll go to Costco…” And renew his membership with her cash. That type of stuff.

                    2. Exactly!
                      The worst ones were when Mommy brought her good boy who was living with her in to get some cash. Lord, the bullying was ugly.

                    3. Yeah, this is too familiar. A relative’s bank account got tapped for “emergency” uses, sometimes with authorization, but I haven’t heard of repayment. She didn’t have much inclination to try to recover/prevent it, and I’m not in a position to intervene; the damage is long done, but at least one of the perps is getting karmic, if not legal justice…

                    4. A certain SIL …

                      All the children got a startup loan that was added to the estate papers to be sorted then. Any subsequent loans were subject to repayment and not part of the estate to be paid back. Guess who was in charge of the estate? I have no idea if all her loans were paid back in the estate settlement or not. I know we were never paid back the loan we gave her (it was a loan, not a gift, but also never expected repayment, knew better). Her siblings never bothered to audit it. That was their choice. I stayed out of it. Pretty sure MIL paid more than her share of the shared housing, when it came down to that after FIL passed. Again. Not. My. Business. I didn’t marry him for the money he wasn’t going to get.

                      No. She was not the only sibling in town when the folks needed help. The BIL was also there. We were there often enough. OTOH after FIL died and the assisted apartment situation (MIL set it up) didn’t work out, the SIL, and daughters, definitely deserved some compensation for putting her up (you can take that two ways, both are accurate), but it should have been presented to the siblings during the estate, whether the siblings wanted to see it or not.

                      The estate? I have no judgement on. The loan we gave her? Yes. That bites. For reasons that go beyond the loan itself.

                    5. That story is really, really familiar. Different details but the same shite.

                  2. Could be. I’m on mom’s banking accounts, but not only would I not dream of withdrawing anything, I won’t even peek unless she asks for help.

                    Oh. We’re in that category ourselves. But we don’t have the kid (at 32) on the accounts, yet.

                    Just got her EWEB (utility) billing “fixed”. Not that anything was wrong, just the information wasn’t there to be able to follow it. She is out of the programming loop problem. Lord knows the problem, although figured out on their end what was happening, isn’t getting fixed anytime soon. Could be wrong. I know perfectly well that at least one programming system (cough, cough, the last one I worked at) didn’t take forever for releases when a problem like this cropped up. But that isn’t the firm they are using … (just saying, not normal, and don’t know if I can recommend that method in general, but it worked for that company).

                    1. Your Mom is very, very fortunate to have you for her champion. The entire world wants old people’s money and their dignity.

          2. I got a letter from OR Dept of Revenue telling me that I screwed up, but the error was in my favor. This tax return was hairy because of reasons, and I missed accounting for one of my estimated tax payments. (Said to self–“the previous year was really hairy, so I must have skipped it”.) Turns out I got creative in naming the payee for that quarter, and it didn’t turn up in the search. OK, shit happens.

            So, went back to making a correct version of the return for my files, and got another WTF moment. “Where’s the amount for the Xth quarter?” The previous screwup letter mentioned an online way to look at payments and returns, so I signed up. Didn’t show. Looked at checking account, it was written and cashed.

            I called the OR-DOR and waited for the queue to get to me, and I got a nice friendly young lady. She looked at it, scratched her head, and told me that they had the money, but somehow it never got credited to my estimated taxes. (And yes, I checked the Q1 payment for this year…) No hassles, she was going to have the refund paid ASAP. And she wasn’t lying. Took a week to get to my mail drop.

            I distrust online banking, but our needs are usually simple. OTOH, now I’ll check the state site every quarter.

            1. I track everything via Quicken (am looking at options recommended here in other posts). AND I verify via online banking AND on the other end. Regularly. Can’t County Payments, unfortunately. The others are simple by comparison (house, vehicle, and CC). State and Feds only get access once a year after taxes have been filed. Normally (now) for payments. But occasionally we get back from State and pay Feds, or pay state and get back from Feds; 2021 it was the former.

              1. I used online banking when I was working, and though it gave me an almost-timely warning when somebody at the other end of the state used my name and rubber checks (but not my driver’s license number) to drain my account, I wasn’t in the mood to stay with the 4 horsepower wheeled wonderbank. (They do seem to get in the news for various malfeasance…)

                We didn’t bother with online when I changed institutions, and when we moved up here, we stayed offline. I am allowing a few periodic payments to use use EFTs (criteria is a stable billing and a company I sort of trust), so there’s usually two checks I have to write each month for recurring bills. Property taxes get paid at the county building, so there’s hard proof it got paid. Except for a few years of early retirement when our income was too low to file, I’ve been paying quarterly estimates. This is the first year somebody misplaced the payment credit.

                For various reasons, our income has been a bit erratic the past year. There was an investment change that generated long term capital gains, but below the threshold to pay direct cap gains tax. Unfortunately, it still got captured in the taxable portion of Social Security, so there was a big blip in the numbers. Didn’t have to pay the penalty. Barely. ($SPOUSE told me of this a bit after I had the knee injury. Dealing with that caused me to lose focus on the finances. Was not in good enough shape to try to redo the numbers and determine the gotchas. It took a few passes on the 1040 to determine the problems. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂 )

                  1. Our main credit union (different one than had the savings fiasco) would give a tiny amount of interest income for our checking if we used online statements. Nope, not going to. There are too many zero day exploits and while it’s not impossible to get burned, being in a CU where we are well known gives us extra protection. I think. OTOH, this is a situation only applicable outside a big metro area. The credit union is no longer small, but we’ve known one of the tellers for 18 years, and others for 15 or so.

                    The previous issue (drained checking account) would have occurred whether or not I was online. The only advantage was that I knew about the issue before I was going to make a large purchase.

  8. Our Hostess said:
    it took Dan and I years — 30 — to figure out why certain things really p*ssed the other off, and why the other was reacting that way to minor things

    Indeed my wife and I have been married 38 years. Took us 10 years to figure out that we each had expectations of what would happen in the relationship an how things ought to be managed. Even in two introverted odds both from families with odds we would be angry and NOT be able to express well what the issue was because it wasn’t something we understood other than at a visceral level. And our families were BOTH blue collar New Englander (Though my wife’s mom was if Italian/Brooklyn origin) so our cultures of origin were at least vaguely similar. New Englander as compared to Mediterranean/Portuguese must have been REALLY interesting. Heck even today from time to time one of us (usually me :- ) ) manages to do something that irks the other. We’ve just gotten (somewhat) better at recognizing and expressing it so it doesn’t fester and make us even more frustrated 🙂

    1. My wife found Harville Hendrix https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Love-You-Want-Couples/dp/1250310539/ref=sr_1_2?crid=KEQEOXK11WAD&keywords=harville+hendrix+books&qid=1650388150&s=books&sprefix=harville+h%2Cstripbooks%2C197&sr=1-2 about 10 years into our marriage, and a whole lot of things clicked. YMMV. His paradigm is that we marry the person who reminds us most of the parent we had the most difficult relationship with because we want the love and acceptance that we didn’t feel we got from that parent. That’s a little simplistic, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense than Freud. We’ve gifted that book as a wedding present. Of course we should have wrapped it with a note, “Do not open until one week after first anniversary.”

      1. I think I read that as a teen. Which is good, because I carefully and consciously went out looking for the Exact Opposite.

      2. Holy crud, that makes a lot of sense. (Thinks of various people I know) A scary amount of sense. And yep, that would explain the times when Freud was right – probably about half the time.

      3. I must admit my first thought after reading this was “Thank God I’m single.” Someone like Dad definitely wouldn’t be good for me.

    2. For nearly fifty years I have been trying to get my wife to use the vocative case. We both took Latin in HS, she knows what it is. “Hail Caesar!” is vocative, followed by content “The Gauls are attacking!”

      But I’ll be in one of my thoughts or daydreams or fugue states, and she’ll start a conversation; by the time I realize she’s talking to me, she’s ten words into what she wants to say and I have to ask her to start over.

      Perhaps you’ve heard about low-context and high-context cultures
      “Hall theorized that in a low-context culture was one where information was primarily conveyed directly and explicitly, while a high-context culture relied on context clues understood by members of that culture but often invisible to those outside it.’

      In theory, France would be ‘high’, while Germany would be ‘low’; the French would say something in dip-speak and the Germans would not have enough information to know what they were talking about; the Germans would say something exhaustively detailed, and the French would think jeeez, everybody already knows that.

      For the stuff she is interested in, my wife is high context; for that same stuff, I’m low context.

          1. I used Gildersleeves Latin Grammar in school. Very old and tattered by the time they got to me.

  9. You bring up a lot, so I’m going to break this up into several comments. Let me start with some words of comfort from Paul Graham, “The people I’ve met who do great work rarely think that they’re doing great work. They generally feel that they’re stupid and lazy, that their brain only works properly one day out of ten, and that it’s only a matter of time until they’re found out.” I’ve quoted it before, but I think it bears repeating.

    My wife once told me that, at some corporate function, she and my boss talked about how I didn’t value my own contributions enough. I think, on the verge of retirement, I may be starting to accept it as TPTB really don’t me to retire. They plug my resume into most proposals. The client on my last project thanked me profusely for my contributions when all I did was write all their documents for them, and my current client is telling us our team is working miracles even if we can’t see it that way because we haven’t succeeded yet.

  10. One doesn’t get to the top of a “dominance hierarchy” (and yes, there’s such a thing…LOTS of them, actually…) without being stubborn beyond stubborn. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking writing or engineering. Same thing. Some things you’re going to be good at it. Other things, not so much so. Who knew I would be good at horseback? Not even myself. But stubborn I am, stubborn I will always be- and I’m off winning places at horse shows ANYHOW.

    Lazy? Anonymoose? Yeah, my work’s defined on enlightened laziness and all. The best software tools comes from just that, applied with the right amounts of spite and stubborn. Some of Linux is the way it is, precisely because of my doing those both in equal measures.

    If the bug takes you, at least TRY at it. Whether it’s writing…coding/developing…or horseback riding.

  11. They’d go “You’re very smart, so you’re super-logical, right?” Yeah, no.

    Gah. Logic is not intelligence. Logic is logic and is one tool in the human arsenal.

    To be honest, a lot of what people describe as intelligence is intuition, which can only be called “logic” if you accept great gaping holes in the logic chain. In fact, being able to deduce from incomplete information is one of the things that is used to show how sapience works, even on the memetic level.

    So when people automatically equate “being smart” to “being hyper-logical,” it… annoys me. (Certainly doesn’t surprise me, given the long history of SF projecting far-future people as hyper-logical.) But then again, when serious panels at writers’ conventions are there on “how to write characters more intelligent than you are,” it shouldn’t be that surprising. (My tip? Figure out your character’s motivations and reasoning, and then have them come to conclusions about events 50% faster than everyone around them. And then have them be surprised that other people don’t understand it, it’s so obvious.)

    Tangent: Americans have a hard time talking about intelligence because of various factors. One is the whole equality angle, and the competitive edge that is in the culture. “We all can be anything, and I’m going to be better than you!” is a constant dual message pounded in. We don’t have class markers as such, so we try for achievement. But there’s also the issue with people saying that they are smart, but not demonstrating it, so Americans have a tendency to look with suspicion on anyone who claims to be intelligent, with an undercurrent of trying to disprove it. (And that sometimes gets to crab-bucket status, too.)

    It gets internalized pretty hard, to the point where I talk around the GATE classes I was in. “My class moved as a unit, so I had the same classmates from 2nd through 6th grade.” Because how dare I end up in the fast-track classes…

    1. Quote: (My tip? Figure out your character’s motivations and reasoning, and then have them come to conclusions about events 50% faster than everyone around them. And then have them be surprised that other people don’t understand it, it’s so obvious.) :end quote

      I am so stealing that. Makes complete sense. May also throw in the ability to make a jump to a correct conclusion without what appears to be the necessary data, though that will probably need to be leavened with the periodic screw up to keep from training people they can always just leap to conclusions.

      One think I’m running into is I forgot to explain trains of thought. A couple of characters are talking, and one of them zots to the conclusion. I’ll go back and re-read it, and realize there’s apparently about a paragraph or two of thought that needed to be stuck between the “what do you mean…” and the “o
      Oh. That’s really not good.” Or the melt down.

      Probably going to turn into a pacing problem though.

      1. There are three basic ways to write characters that appear more intelligent to the reader that I’ve found.

        Make them understand things faster (+n% to reasoning speed).
        Skip steps in between (need n% less steps to reach conclusion) aka “logical leaps.”
        Reach conclusions that others wouldn’t have with available information.

        The last is akin to the two, but is more like “I don’t like the facts presented so I’ll go hunting for my own.” Which makes little sense on the face of things, but there are people who don’t think in the same straight lines that fiction (and media, and education) present. Such persons tend to go off on tangents when everyone else is focused, pick out hidden (or completely missing) details, and intuit things from even less information than type 2.

        For some reason this reads as “intelligent” to most audiences. I make no comment on precisely why this is so, as I do not know.

        1. Assuming the character is frequently correct about these things, it seems to me that it’s reasonable for readers to conclude that accurately discerning what others do not means the character is smart.

      2. Consider putting the appropriate information earlier in the story, so the READER reaches the same conclusions and thinks themselves as SMRT as the character.

    2. Most really big, wrong, ideas are entirely logical, take Freud for example. The problem is the initial premise is wrong, in Freud’s case fraudulent, so everything that follows is wrong too.

      Look at any of the big, wrong ideas, Marxism, Enviromentalism, Scientism, Keynesianism, etc., and you’ll typically find the error on page one, but if you grant them their postulate then everything else follows.

      1. My father liked using this example when introducing folk to basic logic:

        Premise: All elphants are pink
        Premise: George is an elephant.
        Conclusion: George is pink.

        Question: what is wrong with the logic in this statement?

        Answer: Nothing, the logic is flawless.

        Usual protestation (including mine at about 8 or 10): but elephants aren’t pink!

        Response: That’s not a problem with the logic, rather with the premise. If your premise is wrong, your conclusion will be too.

        I’ve found it very useful in getting people to actually think about premises (not neccissarily discard their own, but actually realize that there are base assumptions in everything and that if they’re wrong, everything that follows is likely to be wrong and if it isn’t one ought look very deeply into why.)

        1. Yup the fundamental rule of programming applies, GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage Out. The logic can be absolutely valid, but if the postulates/premises/data on which you’ve built the system are wrong (that’s the Pink Elephant issue) the output is sure as heck going to be just as wrong. Thus communism (which among other really stupid things) assumes humans are perfectible and rational, goes to hell in a handbasket really quickly (and admittedly it has both bad postulates and faulty logic, so its just a fricking mess).

          1. fundamental rule of programming applies, GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage Out. The logic can be absolutely valid, but if the postulates/premises/data on which you’ve built the system are wrong

            Or more likely the Logic 100% valid, the postulates/premises/data built on 100% correct, but does not block invalid data, the result can be accurate, but 100% wrong.

            Thus both negative quantity and negative cost are individually correct, and the result mathematically 100% accurate, but the result is wrong for the user. Very bad result when allowed to populate through the system and dang difficult to fix, given what it was. An error one wouldn’t expect book keepers or accountants to make … They did/do … regularly. It was such a joy (NOT) explaining.

        2. Teaching people to detach these things and analyze the logic itself, to recognize illogic arguing for the truth and logic arguing for falsity, is a big part of logic.

      2. Part of Freud’s problem is that he wasn’t allowed to use his initial theory, so he had to invent the whole “everyone is an oedipus” crap.

      3. I honestly had not heard about the source for the Oedipus and Electra Complexes before this year. (In case you haven’t, these kids came to him with stories of sexual abuse by relatives, the relatives said that there was no way that could possibly happen, and Freud believed the adults, so came up with the complexes to explain why these kids had “imagined” being abused.)

    3. My tip? Figure out your character’s motivations and reasoning, and then have them come to conclusions about events 50% faster than everyone around them.

      The problem with that is that, rather than convincing everyone your character is smart, it may just convince them that everyone else in your setting is an idiot.

    1. A lot of times, smart is “I like hammers, so it’s surprising how hammers are always connected to my current work! And how often they come in useful!”

      It’s a really good thing that smart toddlers don’t have access to trained dinosaurs. That’s all I’m saying.

      1. I can’t remember, did I rave about THE most preschool boy toy EVER?!

        It’s dinosaurs.

        That you put together with these giant screws.

        And it comes with a toddler power screw driver.

        1. I can just picture it and I want! That sounds like a wonderful toy that I never heard of. Where does one find such a good toy?

          1. If you search on dinosaur toy put together with screws, you get about a zillion copycat versions. I’m not sure which one is the original. They all seem to have toddler power screwdrivers.

    2. Well, for the Vulcan’s, I rather got the impression it was more about lock down on the emotions, than really about being smart.

      Of course I have a low suspicion that the Vulkan “explosion at the emotion factory” thing was also an introduced feature, to make sure a lack of emotions did not also prevent a lack of species…

      1. Going off of Nemoy’s biography (can’t remember whichone) it probably came from the effects of him locking down that hard– he had a breakdown at one point because that’s very difficult to do.

        Plus, sheer catnip from the female attraction angle– the idea of being THE thing that can make powerful subject of admiration lose it? Whoof.

    3. Well, some people flat out do not have the bandwidth for a bunch of complicated cross checks all of the time.

      Other folks have the capability, in narrow ways that are carefully trained in. That story from that Barfly who was working as a secretary, when an engineer asked her to check his work for problems? The process of learning what he did in school would have wound up underlining ‘check your calculations’. Then, years of practice would have really internalized it. So when he was to sick to figure out what was wrong, it did not take out the instinct that told him ‘something funny here’. Acquiring that instinct can be a pain and a half, and then the instinct is pretty specialized.

      If a student goes through school in enough of a shambles, that they are always having time to do the problems /once/, without figuring out if it is wrong, and are ‘lucky’ enough, they can graduate without much sense about when their calculations are wrong, or much of a habit when it comes to checking the work.

      Obsessive cross checking can also be a harmful behavior. You can spiral into an emotion by doing a bunch of ‘am I scared yet’ or such checks. But checking things that you don’t need to be checking, or spending a lot of time revisiting sound fundamentals are also potentially a waste.

      If you think at enough of a faster pace, it can be really easy to let your thinking be entirely uncoupled from communication with others. At that point, thinking very fast can simply mean that you can make dozens of mistakes in the time that others might take to figure out that you have made one.

      Skills that help thinking, or which limit the damage of mistaken lines of thought or feeling, can be pretty useful for an intelligent person.

      But, they are not necessarily useless for anyone.

      1. Sometimes getting lost in the introspection/self check loop can come across as being a jerk. At least, that is how it has been described to me.

        Constant examination of your environment and the self check of “is there emotional content? Is it warranted?” etc can cause one to miss obvious- even blindingly obvious cues. I once ended up in a fistfight because I did not recognize that the other person was spoiling for a fight in some fashion, and treated his attempted provocations with more bemused curiosity than verbal retaliation.

        Going off Foxfire’s comment above, it might be easier to assume from the outside that one has little to no emotions if you tend to forget other people exist sometimes. As people, I mean, rather than as interesting puzzles or random noise in the data stream.

  12. Oh, there’s apparently some new science-teaching startup called Brilliant, that teaches science concepts through little computer game simulations on the same “page” as the question they’re asking. So they ask you a question, you’re supposed to make a mental guess on the answer, and then you play with the simulation to see what would happen with each possible answer.

    No idea if it’s any good, but it strikes me as a nice option for folks with older kids, or anybody wanting to “take courses” and play at the same time. I think it’s a subscription model.

  13. I’m in the editing process for my first book, and though the publisher says that it’s normal to be anxious, I was never this nervous in any of my four combat tours. It’s nerve-wracking, especially because I first submitted a story in 1992 (to Astounding, I believe), and got a polite rejection letter, and have been trying ever since. I mean, what next? How do you market your book? I spent over 30 years in the intel community where the idea was NOT to draw attention to yourself, and now they say, “Go draw attention to yourself, but the right kind of attention”! How to get blurbs? The people I know who have significant status are in my old business, and don’t want to draw attention to themselves. Man, give me a good, honest firefight any day over this!

    1. “Pew! Pew! Pew pew!”
      “Boom! Boomity Boom BOOM!”
      “Pew pew pew pew!”

      Best I can do given the distance. Got to close your eyes and remember. 🙂

  14. I used my degrees for about 20 years. But I spent most of my academic career with imposter’s syndrome. I remember the first time I stood in front of a class that was mine, and started lecturing. They actually started taking notes! Holy crap! They think I know what I’m talking about! Oh, geez! I hope they’re right!

    A few days later I ran into a grad school friend who was teaching at the same community college. I considered her to be very bright and on top of things. She told me she kept waiting for the old vaudeville hook to come out an pull her off the “stage” while she was lecturing.

    1. I am actually back (kinda) in my degree field. Almost. If you squint at it really funny. Except it’s by virtue of my pilot certificates, and outside-out-school experience.

      And yes, I sometimes still suffer from “Why they heck are they believing me?” …although the more I do this, the easier it gets to go “Because you have thoroughly colonized your extremely tiny niche, and they know it.”

      Doesn’t help on the writing. I’m still “Wait, people read me? Um? They liked it? Eep! ..they expect me to do it again? Auugh!”

      1. I read you, I re-read you (several times over), and yes, I expect you to do it again. 😀

        And, yeah. By the time I left academia I was pretty good with telling myself “Yes, you really DO know what you’re doing.” But I’m still glad I’m not there.

        On writing, I’m soooo stoked people read and like my books. And soooo amazed. Certain members of my family and one or two of my friends would anyway because they’re just that nice. But people I don’t know read them too and that’s freaking amazing. But for some reason no imposter’s syndrome this time around. Not sure why, but I’ll take it.

        1. I’ve been thinking about this notion of impostor syndrome and realized that I don’t have it, never have. I often think that I’m talking to a field of thistles, but I’ve never doubted that I knew what I was talking about, when I knew what I was talking about. I suspect it’s because I’m not doing “creative” work and because I work in a field where being right less than half the time puts you waaay ahead of the pack. I’m sometime’s right, sometime’s wrong, but always honest.

          Then again, I’ve played music all my life, but never for an audience so there’s that.

          Perhaps it was going to parochial school taught by nuns with a thousand years of institutional bullying skill behind them, and being the only kid on the block who did, which meant I was a nice, big target for the publics. My grammar school days were not fun. At this point, I don’t really care what anyone, other than a very few people — maybe just one, thinks about me. I’d prefer to be thought well of, but it doesn’t really matter.

      2. Yes, there are people who expect you write more. [Glances at the Roses snippets, and sets to waiting patiently (hah!) for the surrounding novel.]

  15. Expectations are premeditated resentments. Many people take put-downs seriously and don’t believe praise.

  16. Will never forget the first time I was studying for the medical boards. There was a sample question: breastfeeding patient who needs radioactive iodine Rx, what is the first thing you do? I picked one of the incorrect answers and was rewarded with “what is wrong with you?? You have to tell her to stop breastfeeding!”
    “Well, I thought that was too obvious,” I responded.
    “There is no such thing as too obvious,” I was told. “They aren’t trying to trick you.”
    Thank goodness I was told that before I took the test.
    I think this relates to a lot of what I have seen/read here.

    1. Actually, in “test prep” classes they do tell you to disregard the most obvious answer because it’s usually wrong. Speaking multiple choice, one will be obviously wrong, one will be “obviously” right but actually wrong (check the wording), two will be close enough that you have to choose between them. 50/50 chance of choosing the right answer between those two.

      Maybe they’ve changed the patterns, that was 30 years ago.

      1. I snorted at the “they’re not trying to trick you” thing, as well.

        Not only are they generally trying to trick the person taking the test (in the best justified form, they’re going for simple, obvious and wrong) but half the time the person writing the test doesn’t understand the subject well enough to do a good job with pulling the trick, so you have to figure out what level they’re operating on.

        1. To be fair, some tests, or at least some questions, really do go for the obvious at least part of the time. You have to pay attention, but it’ll take forever if you’re looking for traps that aren’t there in everything.

          They had an SAT prep person come in to my English class in high school at one point. As I recall it, on the first day, we sat through an interminable explanation of how to find the length of a particular line segment in a geometry problem. I eventually pointed out that the question was probably designed to be answered in a few seconds by recognizing the 3-4-5 right triangle or, at worst, deploying the Pythagorean Theorem.

          I was permitted to spend the remainder of the periods she visited in the library. It was great.

          1. by recognizing the 3-4-5 right triangle or, at worst, deploying the Pythagorean Theorem.

            I didn’t put that well. By distinguishing these, I meant that you could either recognize it as a specific common example, in which case it really would take literally a few seconds, or at least recognize it as a right triangle with information on two sides and work through the equation. Which would have to be faster than whatever convoluted operation she was doing. (I’m not saying her method was necessarily incorrect — I don’t remember, and it’s good to recognize when there are multiple ways of doing a given problem — but it certainly wasn’t useful for taking a timed test.)

            1. the real useful tip I heard is that the longest answer is most likely to be the correct one

  17. From Jordan B. Peterson’s self authoring course, (which I highly recommend), I came across this piece of writing that I did while doing the “past authoring” part:

    “I’ve been thinking about how many writers that I know were bullied in school. Maybe we didn’t become writers because we were bullied, we were born writers and that strange, weird way we look at the world made the tyrants in school want to beat us down. I look at my school pictures and I’m a normal looking girl. But I was weird. I wanted to go to Mars. I wrote about Tarzan. I think being unpopular has been a benefit to my life. Several of my children were unpopular in school at times, and it hurt me terribly to think that they had to deal with that. But dealing with it gives you courage, and independence, and an ability to adapt to your circumstances. So egg or chicken, it’s all good.”

    1. I highly recommend the self authoring course as well. In fact, so much has changed since I did the work a few years ago, I think I may go back through.
      Good to know I’m not the only one here who’s done the SA stuff.

      1. Most kids go through the “victim of the moment” cycle and shrug it off. Some never come out, or only with scars.

        I was consistently bullied from Kindergarten through high school. That is NOT normal. And it started with the innocent statement in Kindergarten that “You can’t make my friends for me.” I walked away (albeit unknowingly) from being one of the “cool” kids who ate paste together and giggled about who was going to the birthday party, to become an outcast even among other outcasts.

        I was always different, but once the other kids had solid evidence that I was different, I was ostracized. Most kids may be bullied for a few days or a week. Perhaps bullied for one year, or periodically attract a bully on the playground. Not solidly for 12 years. Socialization is difficult under those circumstances.

        Don’t dismiss it unless you’ve lived it.

              1. Your childhood stories are some of my favorites. I was hoping for a compilation.

                    1. It can have that effect.

                      (I recommend The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty in general, but in particular here because it does discuss seasonal effects.)

    1. Mike, I read a bit of The War of Art every morning, and that’s the premise of the entire book: Do.The.Work.

  18. I too have thought I was lazy and stupid all my life and that people would catch on any minute and the jig would be up and no one would ever talk to me again, nevermind be my friend or let me keep my job. It kept me from doing lots of things I wanted to do.

    It was very much a relief to get a diagnosis of MS and blood cancer that I had apparently had for YEARS and have a neurologist tell me that for someone who has such a brain full of lesions I am doing remarkably well. Now when I can’t remember a latin name for a plant, walk a straight line, or find my way to a doctor’s office or my sister’s house, I can laugh about it because I know it is not a personal failing of mine but the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and all that jazz.

    And I can take naps because Dr.s orders.

    1. Funny, but it seems like the majority of writers’ personal stories start with, “And I came down with a physical disability…”

      Pat yourselves on the back. At least you’re doing something. Unlike so many others who throw their hands in the air, flop on their butts, and expect someone else to come along and take care of them.

      “Never give up! Never surrender!”

    2. I am not going to complain where people can see or hear me ever again. 🙂
      You have my permission to nap as well, if your doctor changes her mind.

  19. I’m currently dealing with mental health issues. My daughter has been insisting that I’m different since last summer when I was in the middle of chemo. But my wife didn’t see it until the new year. Apparently I’m not as empathetic as I used to be. I’ve had issues remembering things, and I can’t multitask anymore, but it was the lack of empathy that they noticed. So I’ve been seeing a psychologist.

    She gave me a brief test of my mental faculties and I had issues with recalling what was being said. That being said, my ability to recall was in the normal range, and all my other stuff was above average. I was also the first person she’s ever had label the camel as dromedary.

    I don’t feel different emotionally, other than being frustrated at not being able to multitask or remember things like I used to. I, personally, think that maybe it’s more that I used to be able to fake concern much better before. And because I can’t follow what someone else is saying now while doing something else, it appears I’m ignoring them. IKN, maybe?

    1. The logical part of my brain seems to be working fine. I can still work through problems just fine. But I feel like I’m running on auto-pilot for most things because just can’t consciously follow more than one thing at a time anymore.

      1. It gets better. If it’s like with brain trauma of other kinds, you recover. Takes times. Like two or three years.
        When I was at my worst, Dan accused me of shutting him off. I kind of was, because dealing with ME was so much work. So had headphones on and was listening to something ALL THE TIME. Drove him nuts. I got better.

    2. Chemo is definitely not a brain enhancer. And my husband said that I have been “different” too.

      Kind of a “flat” affect if that makes sense. I’m sure he doesn’t send me for psychiatric care because he’d rather not deal with the mercurial temper that I USED to have.

      Also, not always being able to think of the words I want means I don’t talk as much.

      Not that he wins any more arguments than he used to…. I can still be silently stubborn.

      I refuse to stop being stubborn.

    3. Chemo changes you. Hard.
      Dad has chemo, and it made him more authentic. He quit lying like he did his whole life. Faked empathy? Not anymore.

      Chemo tries to kill you. If all you lost was pretend empathy, brother, you’re doing great. Virtual hug for the hard days.

      1. It’s important to realize the difference between losing empathy and just routing to the core. It’s temporary, but when you’re under stress you route what strength you have to the core.

        1. Sarah!! That is exactly it! Routing to the core. It’s not that I don’t care. Not really. I just can’t deal with anything else.

          And yes it does get somewhat better as time goes on. I can function at work. I have to because I need the medical insurance etc. But also I think because it is “just” work. Not a lot of drama involved most days. Just doing what I do and getting through the day. I work with computers and networks which doesn’t usually involve drama unless people are being stupid with their equipment.

          Emotional stuff. Can’t deal. Either those parts are gone and truly fried or I just can’t access those circuits because I need the juice to function. Possibly the later, which means that perhaps, if I get better maybe I will get the caring parts back.

          So, if I can retire sooner, rather than later, perhaps I will get to be my old self more. If not. Oh well. These things always happen for a reason. I plan to ask Himself one day. Meantime, I am content knowing the answer is our there.

          1. I work with computers and networks which doesn’t usually involve drama unless people are being stupid with their equipment.

            So, drama every day. 😀

            1. So drama every day.

              Well yeah. It’s middle school so drama is a given.

              But I am supposed to be an adult so I am allowed to not get swallowed into it.

              But I do have a cool death star jelly bean dispenser that can dispense jelly beans to soften the blow of not having named your very important document and saved it while you were working which caused it to become lost in the random pixels of the internet and now you will get no grade for a language arts project you have been working on all week.

          2. I didn’t think I’d be able to retire from software. Not because of finances because we planned for that better than I knew (even with inflation now, while it is a PIA, it is not a huge concern). Just software fascinated me from the time it bit me. Which was not the first exposure. (I hated that class. Despised it. Second time forced to take an intro computer class, 100% different. It was fun.) It took something outside of software to kick my ass into gear (not medical, not age) to retire. I thought I was going to be bored. I was when I was between jobs, at least the last most the times I was between jobs. No matter what I did. Retired? Nope. Not bored. Not at all.

        2. Yes. Perfectly said.
          I can see my Dad’s face from a point during that time. 😦

        3. I’ve been dealing with a family kerfluffle for the last four months. I’ve turned inward to the point I just can’t deal with other people. I don’t have the energy for it. Most of my family in turn has turned away, saying I’m isolating myself and suddenly selfish and hateful. Maybe someday they’ll see it differently, but at the moment I don’t have the energy to care.

          1. Since you do recognize that you’re withdrawing, they may have a point– but it may be more fair to say that they had unjustly figured on you being available in a way that you’re not. Even in perfectly healthy families there can be a lot of conflict when someone who has always managed to handle things on their own, and have a bit left over to pass around, suddenly doesn’t have any surplus– or worse, they actually need some of that help back, or need help themselves.

            Add general stress on top of that, and it can get ugly, fast.

            1. My older brother and my younger brother and their families won’t talk to me. Probably not ever again.

              “Ugly fast” is just how it went.

              Years of lies suddenly butted up against Mom trying to commit suicide and all that happy smiley brother-love went away. Hard.

                1. Thanks, Foxfier. It’s been ugly for a few years, but we’re on the upswing!

        4. Is that like the body routing heat to the torso instead the limbs in hypothermic conditions?

      2. Chemo is a race to see if you can poison the cancer to death before the cancer or the chemo kills you. I’d be amazed if anyone had normal brain functioning under those conditions.

        1. Indeed Chemo is ugly. I did a protocol called RCHOP-21 (treatment every 3 weeks, 6 treatment cycles) used in Lymphomas (note variant sometimes also used in some other cancers (e.g. breast) especially if lymph nodes are involved though better treatments exist now). Definite concentration issues on the day of and day after the treatment, although the P which was for several days after (high dose prednisone) was worse, made me feel like a chipmunk with a meth overdose. And yes the goal is to kill fast growing cells (cancer) more quickly (hopefully a couple orders of magnitude faster) than the regular cells. This has been a trick in medicine, for example Arsenic based drugs were used at the turn of the 20th century for syphilis. Because syphilis was ultimately lethal (and late stage syphilis is DAMNED ugly) it was worth a shot. Similar with cancer :-).

  20. Failure is a harsh teacher. Some people learn the wrong lesson and just give up. But if you’re willing to listen and do better next time, it’s a good one.

  21. if y’all are interested, I’ll tell the tale of how i got my first genre writing gig on the discord

  22. You always know what your family of Odds needs to hear, huh? I’m still badly drained from all the ongoing messes and not sure how well I’ll be able to apply any of this but thanks as always for these posts and the community here. And I’m sure R and C will be along any minute now to drag me to bed for both rest on my part and snuggles for them!

  23. “I woke up with the thought that particularly among Odds, the path is rarely straight, and I don’t actually have a single friend who started out to do what he now does for a living.”

    …There was a path?

    “Something else — and I’ve seen this in sons and friends — is that the Odds — or as psychologists called it “Highly gifted” — bruise more easily. “

    Sure, call it a gift. They all do. Is exercise a gift? You suffer, you ache, you inflict pain upon yourself- and you get stronger. The gift causes suffering, too. And pain. You may get stronger, after. Or you may end up with a set of poor coping strategies that require time and effort and yes, pain to retrain.

    So call it a gift. It means curse in the original Klingon.

    It is the sort of thing that’s only good IFF you make it so.

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