Doom! Doom! Doom!

Doom! Gloom! The end is coming soon! Oh, woe is me! Lay down your weapons! Let’s surrender!

So, yesterday night, as I do when I remember which is about once a week, I let my fingers do the walking through pending and spammed and trashed comments.

It’s actually rather bizarre the number of you that WordPress has decided are spammers on….nothing much. Though sometimes I get it. I have some trigger words, that are the name of notorious trolls, or associated with them, which I can’t reveal since it would make them ineffective. And sometimes one of you uses them innocently. There is also, of course, the possibility that some idiot who is on the “approve every time” list will decide he’s BANNED and that this is a case for bringing a lawsuit against me or threaten me with physical harm. (Think about it “But your honor, she banned me from commenting on her blog! Surely I can get damages!” Laughed out of court doesn’t begin to cover it. “She caused harm to the reputation of my made-up internet handle” is maybe worse.)

So when I have time, and the brain is fried for useful work, I’ll let my fingers do the walking of spammed/pending/trashed. (Weirdly, though most pending show up in my side bar for approval, some require me to do a deep dive into the entrails of the blog to find it. WPDE, I guess.)

And something curious struck me.

Starting about with John Ringo’s guest post, there is a flock of doom-birds screaming “give up, give up. You can’t win. The battle is already lost.”

I didn’t approve them.

Look, I know that some of the regulars — and heaven help me, one or two times a year, me, myself — will fall into doomer mode at times.

Standing on the ramparts is tiring work, and not only are the slings and arrows painful, what hurts the most is the HOWLING incoherence of the opposition. For a certain type of odd, who seems to congregate here, to be honest, we prefer to be called bad names than to be screamed random slogans at. Because we don’t so much mind being hated, but we’d like it to MAKE SENSE.

Sometimes we all fall into doom.

But you have to realize, if you’ve read military history that when the enemy’s main tactic is yelling at you to shut up and give up, they’re losing.

They’re losing big.

To an extent the leftist/collectivist project always was losing. You can’t fight reality. She’s a stone cold b*tch.

But they controlled the mass media, and therefore their shouts made many people give up. Most people, really, including a lot of the “opposition” who became the loyal opposition in the hope of being killed last.

Well, Thank G-d Almighty that time is past.

Yes, the horizon is dark. Yes, the other side is fighting with everything they have, and sometimes they will hurt us. They will hurt everyone. In fact, they have reached the crazy level of spreading plague to the enemies, and their own people, indiscriminately because they’re that desperate.

They won’t win, but they can make us lose. Or at least hurt badly. We’re going to take damage, that’s unavoidable. We’ll have to rebuild and that’s annoying.

But this is not the end. It probably isn’t even the end of the beginning.

This is no time to get wobbly. And it certainly is no time time to list to their whispers and shouts.

Grin, show the middle finger and answer with “Okay, Doomer.”

And fight on.

Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

(*Sorry about the disappearing post and the redo. For reasons known only to …. WordPress’s psychiatrists, it decided I didn’t want to publish the new promo post, but I wanted in fact to repeat last week’s. Not only that, but the new promo post was completely memory-holed, so it’s not even in drafts, which usually everything is. So, I erased it and am starting again from scratch with three hours down the hole. — Just figured out the problem might be related to our internet crashing due to a thunder storm HALFWAY through publishing the post. In any case: GRRR.* – SAH)

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN: FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Barbarella 9, now with dinosaurs.

What the heck is with the eyeballs. I don’t know. I mean Barbarella confronts the Oppressive Alien Gaze, but honestly comics covers seem fairly random to me. And in this case super-disturbing.

The penultimate issue for this current installment! Beauty meets beautiful (and highly defended) beast as Barbarella takes the fight right to The Lady’s doorstep. Doing so means tracking down The Lady’s hidden home world and doing that means fighting throuh the masses determined to keep it hidden! If it’s that hard to make planetfall, what the heck awaits our hero? And what is the incredible, tragic connection between The Lady and Taln?! All this, and cringy one-liners, too! (*And I will note this blurb is from my editor, the man who helps me come up with cringy one liners. Seriously? I mean that’s one of the best parts of doing these comics.* -SAH)

FROM JAMES Y. BARTLETT: Cold Secrets (The Swamp Yankee Mysteries Book 2)

Julius Haddock is mad as hell and he’s gonna do something about it!

In Glitter Girl, Book One of the Swamp Yankee mysteries, Julius Haddock, the former chief of police in Little Penwick, Rhode Island, was in jail, thanks to a corrupt District Attorney and a few bent judges. Now, after some good police work by his son Gus Haddock, the new chief of police, he’s out. And free.

Julius wants revenge, but he’s going to get it on his own schedule. In the meantime, armed with his new private investigator’s license, Julius decides to take another look at one of Little Penwick’s coldest cases: the thirty-year-old murder of Donna Dixon, a seventeen year old who was abducted and killed while riding her bike to work at her summer job.

But as he starts to look into what happened to Donna thirty years ago, Julius Haddock finds that everyone in town seems to have some secrets from that long-ago time. And he even finds a few secrets in Little Penwick that are fresh and brand new.

But nobody doubts that Julius Haddock can figure out what happened. He’s a Swamp Yankee, after all. Proud, determined and relentless.

FROM RICHARD CHITTENDEN: The Forever Child

The Forever Child is the story of Evangeline Fletcher. Born in 1630, the year 2019 finds her still alive and on the run. For all of her long life, she has been hunted, first by a family seeking vengeance and later by those hoping to find out the secret to her immortality and claim it for themselves.
For Evangeline, immortality has been wasted. She has no family, no friends and no possessions. There have been no great achievements, no heroic deeds, just an empty life of living alone and being ready to run at a moment’s notice whenever she is discovered. She must constantly change identities and move to new locations in an effort to avoid being found. More than anything else, Evangeline wishes she were normal.
Her pursuers are now a cabal of operatives who can draw on the vast resources of the government as they try, time and time again, to capture Evangeline. They are ruthless, tenacious and driven and will cross any boundary and break any law in their quest.to find her. If captured, she will be imprisoned, studied and eventually discarded. A lonely, unmarked grave will be her final end.

EDITED BY LAWDOG, WITH STORIES BY THE NOTORIOUS TEXAS TROUBLEMAKERS: Ghosts of Malta

Malta. Alchemists, Saints and Heroes have all made their way to this place, defended its walls, and added to its ranks of ghosts and lore.

Besieged, battered, and bombed, this archipelago has seen every tide of war, turmoil, and more than a few bits of piracy. It’s also been the land of courage, resilience, and grace under fire.

Ten authors have set out to bring you tales of the ghosts of Malta past, present, and future. Open the pages and meet the ancient guardians, ghost cats and inter dimensional spies that will be your guide…

BY LEIGH BRACKET, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: Shadow Over Mars (Annotated): The Science Fiction Pulp Classic Planetary Romance

Out of the Roaring Turmoil of the Red Planet Emerges Resolute Rick Urquhart — Destined to Rule the Universe, and to Dare Destruction for the Sake of the Woman He Loves!

This iktaPOP Media edition includes an introduction giving historical and genre context to the novel.

FROM R. H. SNOW: Transmutation Texas (Watcher of the Damned Book 1)

In a World gone Viral, a Hero shall Arise – join the Revolution with WATCHER of the DAMNED!

The Happening wreaked havoc as Humanity got a hard reset from a deadly gender-cidal Virus – and for TransMutated Survivors like The Watcher, life in Post-Apocalyptic Texas just got a whole lot bloodier and a whole lot lonelier. In a cyberpunk Wild West gone awry, The Watcher was a Rebel without a clue under the System: a brutal, high-tech Social Construct engineered to serve the Enlightened and oppress the Damned. But that’s all about to change, thanks to a cheeky chaos agent named Rose…

Now The Watcher must lead a Revolution to save Rose from the System He helped create, or Rose will die – and Humanity will die with her.

Fight the System – Join the Revolution – with WATCHER of the DAMNED!

BY LAWDOG AND CEDAR SANDERSON: AstroLizards.

A few brave lizards, and a gecko, with the right stuff. Two boys growing up in Africa explore the possibilities of explosives, with their reptilian pals. AstroLizards tells the tale of the nascent Nigerian Spac… er, well, an attempt was made. Sapper Lizards tells of the brave enlisted lizards and the wonders of ammonium triiodide. Finally, the Major’s tale of epic battles against beetles and a nose round out this comedic book. You can color the story in yourself! Or you can read and laugh and read again.

FROM CHRISTOPHER WOERNER: 202205 Feint

A collection of current events and history essays over the last month, including news headlines just to keep track of what else was going on. Somebody’s got to cover the world on fire and try to figure out that plans of whoever’s making it happen. Is it the real thing or just a fake? Either way, they’re hitting us hard.

FROM LESLEE SHEU: Kumasagi, Part 2: Kandargiri

Kumasagi is a serialized fantasy saga told in seven parts. Part 2: Kandargiri contains Chapters 16 – 26.

Jayan follows Padir to Kandargiri, realm of the monstrous lopperbeaks, a giant bird species known to be savage and untamable. Determined to ride one of the winged brutes, Padir enlists the help of a young, troubled mystic named Shigaran—the only person in the world who can meet minds with a lopperbeak.

Along the way, an old friend detects Jayan’s troubling secret.

FROM MAX BRAND, WITH INSTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: 3 Different Trails (annotated): A Pulp Adventure Omnibus

Three classic pulp novels by Max Brand, that go in three very different directions!

Wooden Guns

Big Jim Conover has a reputation back home as a very, very dangerous man, and one of the fastest draws ever to live. Folks don’t know he’s now partly-paralyzed on his right side, his gun no better than a wooden gun. So when he comes back to take charge of the family that adopted him as a boy, people expect trouble.

Doctor Clinton Aylard has dreams of restoring the proper social status to the once-great Aylard name in England, but finds himself out west, engaged to a girl named Jack, and accidentally in possession of a reputation as a quick draw with a dead aim. A reputation that only he knows he does not deserve.

Conover is on the wrong side of the law, with a sterling character despite his upbringing. Aylard is on the right side of the law, with a conniving, deceitful character, despite his “good breeding”. When these two men meet, even with both carrying “wooden guns”, bullets will fly!

Train’s Trust

Steve Train, gambler, adventurer, clever rogue, didn’t care much for work. But then he was offered a job with no work, but plenty of danger.

The job: track down outlaw Jim Nair — and hand him a pile of money!

The Smoking Land

When rancher Smoky Bill’s closest friend, scientist Cleveland Darrell, disappeared in that lab explosion, everybody figured Darrell had died, and his body vaporized. But when Bill finds out about a “fake” artifact that includes a fragment of Darrell’s writing, Bill knows he must follow his friend, and possibly rescue him. For that fragment of writing mentioned going north of Alaska, to “The Smoking Land”.

Now Bill is going to find The Smoking Land, and his friend Cleve Darrell, no matter how many lost civlizations, mysterious religious cults, or super-science weapons stand in his way!

This iktaPOP Media omnibus includes introductions to all three novels giving genre and historical context.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: NEEDY

Conversations Over Breakfast

“I woke up this morning, and lady Valeria was standing at the gate to the garden, with her eyes wide and weird and her ears in disarray,” said Mr. Hoyt to his spouse over breakfast.

“She got out?” his spouse replied, with horror. “She has ruined her reputation. We are all to pieces.”

“No, no. Only the contained are, near the piano. Someone left the gate open.” Mr. Hoyt paused. “Also, no one saw her, and I could see that there was no young man with her. Her reputation isn’t ruined. But we must have a talk with her about her prospects and potential ruin.”

“And we definitely cannot have her go about with her ears in disarray,” Mrs. Hoyt concurred. “What will people think?”

“Indeed,” Mr. Hoyt said. “For everyone knows a young man in possession of a good lap must be in want of a cat.”

And this, gentle readers, is a taste of Hoyt-sanity. Yes, we’re…. peculiar. And that’s without counting younger son — basement son — popping up speaking a fake language at us for ten minutes….

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Defense in Depth, A Guest Post by Bill and Caitlin Walsh.

Defense in Depth, A Guest Post by Bill and Caitlin Walsh.

So, I recently asked a leftist a question:  “Two people cross the Mexican border. One is a 40 year old man, the other a fourteen year old girl. What should happen next?”

Seems like a pretty simple question, right?  “They should be interviewed by border patrol to find out the situation,” right?  I mean, I understand that there might be a couple of things to clarify in between here, but….

Well, the left has learned something from the Socratic method: Not to fall for it.  They have learned NEVER to respond to a question with a straight answer.  They know full well that their position is utterly indefensible if it can be fleshed out honestly, and they know that a conservative asking questions is likely attempting to force them to do exactly that.  That’s a losing game for them every time.  And the smart ones know it.

So we get the first dodge:  I need more information!  What people, where, how, under what conditions?  (This is predictable, but actually part of my plan.)

Me:  You don’t have it yet.  Are you saying the first thing that should happen is that they should be interdicted by border patrol and interviewed in order to get that “more information”? 

Second dodge: I don’t understand!  You’re asking what should happen if they get stopped by border patrol?

Me:  No ifs.  It was a simple question, do you think they should be stopped and interviewed?

Third dodge:  I think the border should be secure if that’s what you’re asking!  (This one is particularly tricky, because it *sounds* like he answered me, when he really didn’t).

Me:  So, you’re saying that they should be stopped by border patrol and questioned? 

And this is as far as it makes sense to go with this, because it has become clear that he’s simply NOT going to answer the question. If you find yourself in this situation you can play it from here as you wish, because *you’ve already won!*  You have demonstrated, to the impartial observer, that your conversational opponent is not having a discussion in good faith.

Should they have actually, accidentally *answered* at any point, here are some follow-up questions you can ask that they will also refuse to answer, things like “How will you determine whether they’re related?” and “Where will you house them while you wait for DNA tests to come back?” and “Given that 40% of the children crossing the southern border are being trafficked, do you think they should be housed together with their traffickers?” and “Do you think that it might be useful to have physical barriers to redirect them toward available interviewers?” We can keep this going, but you get the point. It’s not like they’re answering them.

So we’ve got some basic “arguing on Facebook” methodology. But it actually has a lot wider applicability than that. See, every leftist politician has said something like “I support secure borders”…  But what does it MEAN when they say that?  They don’t support physical barriers, they don’t support funding CBP, they don’t support deporting people when caught, they don’t support funding detention facilities, the don’t support appointing more immigration judges… in short, they support NO ELEMENT of secure borders.  So, when they say “I support secure borders”, they mean exactly what Benjen Stark pointed out; Anything before the word “But” is bullshit.

They thrive on glittering generalities that don’t—CAN’T—peg to anything specific. You want to get past that, you need specifics. And ANY specific WILL destroy them.

So, here’s what I have learned about illegal immigration, in particular in the past few years. I am going to focus solely on southern border crossers here, (Because visa overstays, northern border crossers, cruise ships, etcetera, also happen.) I know some of you are more knowledgeable than me, so please give me more specifics in the comments.

It begins at the beginning: you’re a Honduran uneducated laborer, you want to go to America for a better life.

You know the chances are MUCH better for you if you have a child with you.  So, you go get one.  The kid isn’t related to you, it’s just some neighborhood kid that you kidnapped to help you get past ICE; it’s not like anyone is investigating a missing Honduran kid! (at least, not after Obama declared the 2009 constitutional crisis a “coup.”)

Unfortunately, on your way across Mexico, the kid gets stolen from you by sex traffickers. (Google “Tenancingo”, seriously.) Oh well, no problem, it wasn’t your kid anyway. There are kids that rent themselves out to assist border crossers.  You pony up the thousand dollars and pay one of them.

Then, in Juarez, you make contact with Juan the coyote.  Juan is a cartel affiliated smuggler (read: serial-raping, mass-murdering, mass-grave filling psychopath).  Sometimes he smuggles fentanyl, sometimes he smuggles people.  Some of those people pay him, others are property.  But you prepared well, and you meet his price.

He prepares you for the crossing, and tells you what to do if you get intercepted. Just say “Asylum”.  That’s all.

Unfortunately, you DO get intercepted.  When you meet ICE, they see that you have a child with you.  Most of the time, that means they just wave you on, because they haven’t got room at the child detention facility (can’t have kids in cages, don’t you know).  But you get unlucky again.  They take the kid to child detention.  Everyone at the ICE office knows him by name, so maybe it wasn’t a good investment.  Fortunately, Juan told you to say “asylum”, so ICE takes you to a place where  they finger-print you, ask you some questions, and then give you a court date 5 years out.  Then they release you.  Cool!

So, you call up Juan again, and he directs you to a Western Union office and a bus station.

You go where he tells you,  and spend the next 5 years working in the “shadow economy”.  Some days, you get work as a day laborer, others, you steal someone’s identity and work in other menial jobs.  Sometimes, you send money home.  It’s life.

Then your court date comes up.  You know good and well that you have no legitimate claim to asylum, so you don’t go.  The court issues a deportation order. But they don’t have any idea where in the country you are, so nothing happens.

You spend the next 10 years the same way you spent the first 5. Working as you can.

Now, you hit it unlucky again.  ICE catches you in a random sweep of the day laborers location.  They process you, see that you’ve been in the US for 15 years, and now you have a child here. (Didn’t spend ALL your time at work.) Well, they’re not *heartless*; they ignore the deportation order, and release you.

That is the reality of the southern border at this time.  It’s one of the more spectacular examples of two things.  One is “sabotage”, and the other is “defense in depth”.  “Sabotage” is when one deliberately makes a system not work, and “defense in depth” is when one creates a series of barriers that one must cross to accomplish a goal.  So, here’s what I mean by that.  The Democrats have obfuscated and complicated the process at literally every step, to such a degree as to make the entirety completely nonfunctional.  At every level.  Why are illegal immigrants not caught more often?  Because Democrats won’t hire more agents, and won’t agree to building physical barriers.  Why are those caught not detained?  Because Democrats will not build more detention facilities.  Why are more illegal immigrants not simply returned?  Because democrats have created a complicated asylum process.  Why does it take 5 years to process an asylum request?  Because Democrats stonewall immigration judge appointments.  Why do so few illegal immigrants get picked up by internal ICE?  Because Democrats refuse to respect the rule of law.  Why are they, even AFTER being issued deportation orders and caught by ICE not deported?  Because Democrats don’t want to “separate families”. 

At every level, in every way, the Democrats in Congress have aided human traffickers, sex slavers, and mass murderers, over decent humans.  This situation is irredeemable.

This is a particular example, and it’s stark.  But it goes this way with EVERY issue.  Ask a leftist the very most basic question you can, and you will never get an answer.  Try “What imbues a human life with value?”, and you’ll get a pile of hard luck pregnancy cases, and some very impolite descriptions of your character.  Ask “What characteristics define a woman?”, and you’ll get called a transphobe. (Matt Walsh has made much of his career out of this.) Ask “To what standard should we keep those that simply decline to work?” and you’ll get called heartless.

This isn’t an accident.  They KNOW that they can’t actually defend ANY of their positions, so they deflect from actual discussion OF those positions. 

And here is where OUR failure begins, and where Donald Trump has shown us the way.  We need to stop letting them get away with it!  We need to start pointing out that their policies have led to tens of thousands of child sex slaves being brought across their unmonitored border, that the minimum wage leads ONLY to generational poverty, and benefits virtually no one.  We need to keep asking the questions, and ignoring the obfuscation.  We need to STOP pretending that they have “good intentions”, because anyone that is willing to lie to bring about their goals CANNOT mean well.

When you lie to someone, it’s always done for a single reason.  When you lie, it’s always because you know that, if you told the truth, they wouldn’t do what you want them to do.  Lying is ALWAYS an attempt to steal the choices of the person you’re talking to.

They think they’re wiser, of course, the right person to be making these choices over the benighted and misinformed. But if it were that… why can they never answer simple questions?

Keep asking them. The obfuscation is all the response you need.

What if We’ve Been Profoundly Wrong

What if we’ve been profoundly wrong?

No, I don’t actually mean in the representative republic project. With all its flaws and all its many warts, has fed humanity and lifted us to a standard of living never before experienced.

Which might be the problem. The standard of living, that is.

We are human, meaning we’re not detached, independently thinking units, but a combination of mind and animal. Our body has all the instincts and hopes of the great apes we’re built on the model of.

And thereby lies the rub. As a certain rabbi said, long ago, which of us is so wicked that he doesn’t want to give good things to his children?

So, of course, the first symptom of true, massive surplus in society was to lift burdens from childhood and try to turn it into this mini-paradise, this diminutive and nonsensical isle of the blest, not won after long combat or much suffering but just given to us, for free, handed over with no requirement for anything.

A myth grew up that not only was childhood inherently golden and perfect and nothing bad happened in it, but that it should be inherently golden and perfect and nothing bad should happen in it.

And it was expanded upon and propagated by both the childless (of which we have a higher number than ever) who push and propagate an imaginary view of children, a Rousseaunian view if you will, where the child, like the noble savage of their imaginings has inherently, by virtue of being born, all the best and noblest qualities of humans. He should never be corrected, thwarted or in any way changed, because he is born perfect.

This, I’m afraid — and one of the reasons I ran screaming from my first major — was justified by a whole lot of psychological and pseudo-psychological nonsense, mostly built on a Freudian basis. In the seventies, it seemed like every other psychology book was determined to tell you that being “repressed” (I.e. thwarted) in any way would make your child a twisted deviant, in sexual and moral ways.

Since then a lot of this has gotten encoded into law. I have pointed out before that I believe in spanking — note, I do not under any circumstances say “beating”, I say “spanking”. Having experienced both, there is a world of difference between being slapped on the butt once, and being struck multiple times with an object — because it seems to be evolutionarily the way great apes raise their children, and also because if I hadn’t sometimes administered it fast and mercilessly, my kids wouldn’t be alive today.

Now, I know, and have heard of children who don’t need spanking. I’ll say two things: it’s easier to not spank the fewer kids you have. And my boys were both ragingly ADD — which I didn’t realize — so all other methods of correction failed.

No, wait, I’ll say three things — should I come in again? — the other thing is that what many parents resort to — partly because spanking has now been codified as child abuse by regulators who never had children — from time outs, to brow beating and belittling, leaves much deeper psychological scars than even being beaten. Again, as someone who experienced both, I don’t actually remember the beatings in detail. I know they happened, because I remember incidents around them, and I remember the last because I was somewhere North of twelve, and that’s when I decided it had to stop.

I do however remember being followed around for days and browbeaten, my character taken apart, and motives ascribed to me that had never crossed my mind (most of my sins, even now, are being thoughtless because ADD and I forgot what I was supposed/meant to be doing, not malice or wanting someone else to suffer I’m too lazy for revenge.) Those are the ones that left scars in my mind.

(And before someone gets terribly alarmed, most of these incidents had absolutely nothing to do with my parents, or even relatives, but people who had temporary, sometimes incidental care/control over me.)

But until the other day — late at night at that — I thought that this refusal to admit they need correction and that sometimes mild corporal discipline was needed was the worst thing we had done to kids in the last 100 years, and the reason most children certainly in the west, sometimes in other countries, act like the spoiled princelings of yore, slow to mature, reluctant to take responsibility, often unable to mature or become functional, functioning adults.

And then late at night I came across this: Children Must Be Made To Work.

I didn’t want him to be right. But–

Look, my mom is perhaps one extreme of this. From fourth grade on, she was largely self-taught for all educational matters. (Since she loves the equivalent of radio great courses and always has — these days it might be television — she has the equivalent of a college education, but is prone to falling for ridiculous theories. Then again, college.) Because at 10 she was apprenticed to a seamstress. This meant that her parents paid some fee for her to learn the basics for the year she was mostly not worth it as an economic producer, and after that, she was bringing her parents money. Yes, very little at first, but increasing as her abilities did.

She bootstrapped this into her own business, and eventually designing clothes, but she started out at ten or eleven, working in a workshop, probably doing much of the work now done by machines, and being paid a pittance for her labor.

What she was paid was, however, essential to her family and younger siblings, so there’s that.

Dad had more what we’d consider a late 20th century upbringing and is an engineer, but this might not be all as it seems, and more on that later.

The point is that we look at mom’s experience as some kind of Dickensinian horror. But should we?

Mom did have a childhood, and an education before ten. She learned more in those four years, frankly — at least on the practical side — than we manage to cram in the heads of our high school graduates. She could write a coherent and cogent sentence, and was quite good at persuasive writing. (I mean other than punctuation. What a very weird thing to be genetic. At least I use more than one punctuation mark per page. Consider yourselves fortunate. Someone, I suspect, told mom to put in a punctuation mark when she paused to breathe. And therein lies the rub. Until recently I’d receive three page letters, with a period at the end of the last page, presumably to tell me I should stop reading.)

On her own, she studied, both in reading and listening and now watching history and philosophy. She has for various reasons, including business and her crazy children bringing their friends home, rubbed elbows with “intellectuals” who never suspected her lack of formal education.

In many ways, her childhood (except for a crazy family and living in the slums, mind) was better than most people’s up through the middle of the century.

If you do historical research, as I find myself doing, one way or another, a lot, and for reasons of historical voice and verisimilitude read auto-biographies or letters of the time period, you find that children, sometimes as young as four were working, contributing members of the family.

From four year olds minding the baby, to four year olds minding the cows, even middle class and upper middle class families had those kids working from sunup to sundown doing things we’d be hesitant to have teenagers do.

Granted a lot of these people were stunted, or otherwise hurt by their childhood, but honestly, everyone was malnourished and working far too hard, not just kids back then.

So, we got a bit of leeway on the surplus thing, and well…. everyone wants to be nice to the children.

How is it working?

Well, not markedly well. It’s not just that we have people only sort of finding their way in life in their thirties (with luck) which btw gives a very small window till your body starts suffering from “middle age complaints.” but–

It’s not working well for society, particularly, either. I mean, we’re now facing a whole generation which has some number of people who think work — any kind of work — is unfair and should be abolished. No, seriously. If you haven’t looked at the anti-work movement….. don’t if you wish to sleep at night.

Look, children are human. Yes, I know. I have often doubted it too. I still haven’t solved the mystery of the gallon of milk under the bathroom dresser, though I suspect it was younger son’s idea of efficiency — breakfast while using the bathroom — gross as it sounds.

But they are basically human. They come into the world as screaming savages — the noble part was always in the eye of the beholder — but they aren’t stupid.

They’re just profoundly ignorant. Sure, I know, IQ is supposed to be lower until maturity and blah blah blah, but IQ measurements are hard, and all of us have been faced with kids who were unholy smart and able to figure out things that would puzzle adults. (See child-proof lids, which mostly are parent-proof lids particularly if you have arthritis.) My kids could open complex locks in their sleep. I know, because at one point our house had four different locking mechanisms on the front door, due to the kids’ sleep walking before about 12. (For years, the front door opening, no matter the reason, would wake me out of the deepest sleep and bring me to my feet instantly. Only stopped recently, and I think it’s because I don’t hear very well anymore.)

They come into the world as little learning machines. One of the things they learn is “what is the world and what am I in it?”

If what they learn in most of their growing years is that “I am to be catered to, and never required to do what I don’t want to”…. well…. it explains a lot doesn’t it?

It also explains things like “Why self esteem teaching doesn’t work.”

People learn self esteem through accomplishment. When the whole movement came about, middle class kids were required to do intellectual labor for a great part of their childhood, while “underprivileged” kids were allowed to do whatever. Starting to praise everyone for doing nothing was exactly the wrong solution.

And that’s the other side of this: though dad had a more conventiona late-20th century (Which he wasn’t) childhood, he was a scholarship boy — as was my brother — whose grades needed to stay up or he couldn’t continue. In a profoundly decayed educational system, where the way into upper education was intensive tutoring, both made it without help, which was labor: just intellectual labor.

And yes, my journey was similar, though not precisely scholarship, but to stay in the non-paying section of schooling, I needed to have grades in the upper 0.5%. And my parents couldn’t afford private paid-for schooling. So I had labor and standards. But not as much, and I felt neurotically like a burden on the family. Even though from the age of eight I was supposed to clean half the house. Never mind. I was measuring myself against mom and her childhood, not other people.

But the point is, worth comes from work. Self-esteem comes from knowing you’re valuable and self-sufficient.

We’re denying our kids this, and turning them into neurotic messes in the vague idea that they should have an “ideal” childhood, where increasingly less is required of them.

And then at eighteen — or increasingly, 26 — we pitchfork them into adulthood and expect them to be useful, conscientious, productive.

Why, when all we taught them to be was little emperors?

Frankly, it’s a fricking miracle that most of the kids are all right, even if they come to maturity late, and often maimed by self-doubt and confusion.

I went from: what if this entire project was wrong?

To studying the roots of it and going “Of course it was wrong. From Rousseau to Dickens, none of it made any sense. It was the Fap-antasy of intellectuals positing what humans should be, not what they were.”

The good news is you can correct that to a great extent, though heaven knows you might have to be very sneaky, because, you know? Now CPS is taking kids from parents according to modeling and AI. Oh, wait, that means you don’t actually have to be sneaky, because that cr*p will be entirely random.

You can give the kids jobs and responsibilities in the house, and hard benchmarks to hit. Like “By summer, I want you to be able to cook dinner twice a week.” (Older son did this stuff to himself. He could cook a multi-course meal by six. But not every kid is that self-directed.)

My first jobs in the house were stupid-easy, but I was expected to do it. By three I was washing breakfast dishes (not the big meal dishes, no) and setting the table. But I knew I was contributing.

Allow kids to start “businesses” too, whether it’s making and selling duct tape wallets (which will mostly be to your friends, but hey) or whatever they come up to do. If you are home with them, starting some kind of craft business might not be a bad idea. Think of things you can sell at craft shows (or cons) and help deflect household expenses, as well as save for the kids’ future. (My favorite seen at a con was painting rocks to look like adorable animals. They wold well too. And yes, there are books and you tube videos on it.)

Yeah “but the kids will lose interest” or “They won’t work very fast.” Yeah, okay, but that’s what you’re TEACHING them. That one works for a living, regardless of interest, and that their time has a price.

Patience and patient teaching. It’s part of making them into adults.

Requiring educational excellence — in and out of school — in addition is also something you can do (and jobs can be more or less as needed for that.) Well, you know, kids used to know Latin and Greek and all the basics of composition and algebra by 10. IQ hasn’t changed. Only requirements have.

I guess what I’m saying is the old Heinlein thing “Don’t ruin your kids by making their lives too easy.”

But I’m afraid he had no idea how easy we’d make them.

I’d add “Show them they can contribute, and that their contributions have meaning, and not just in empty praise, but in hard measurements: abilities acquired, things learned, things made that either bring in money, or free the parent to make money.

Here I’d add that from the time the kids were five or six, we ran a marketplace of chores. I had a big blackboard and wrote on them what needed to be done and what I was willing to pay, and the kids claimed the chores. (I suspect part of the issue is older son claimed all of them, and put the money in the bank but never mind. He left mighty little for his brother.)

The money wasn’t a ton. It would be 50c for loading the dishwasher, say. Or $5 for dusting and vacuuming the whole house. The total was usually $5 to $10 per kid, per week, and it was the only “allowance” they got. And it was absolutely useful for the family. There is no way I could have done six books a year while they were little without that. If I had to do it again, I’d have assigned the tasks, instead of going free market, which cut younger son (younger, less capable) out of a lot of it.

It is important not to dictate what they do with the money, too, whether it’s buying an ice-cream (even older son succumbed at times) or putting it in the bank.

But it teaches them you don’t get money for nothing, and also that their labor brings rewards. Which is why it is important not to play government and tell them what to do with their money or take some of it away. Let them discover that in adulthood and be indignant.

Teach your children well. It might avoid having your grandkids work in mines.

If we’re all very lucky.

It’s Never As Simple As It Seems

Part of the attractiveness of Marxism in all its forms, is that it’s a very simple story. Like all its bastard step children, like feminism, or CRT it is simple, obvious and wrong.

The wrong doesn’t hit a certain type of mind right away, though. Partly through our fault, our very great fault, since our society’s institutions have stopped working and therefore we don’t teach kids history in all its multifaceted glory. We don’t allow them to see the world as is. Instead, we just have them running around with these bizarre slogans in their heads, and not only looking at the world through them, but also incapable of breaking them.

When I was really small, and really afraid of the dark, there were prayers I said when I went out into the dark. I knew it didn’t really help, but it gave me a feeling of protection.

In the same way I suspect most people today know that Marxism isn’t reality, but they repeat these shibboleth’s as incantations in the belief that it will protect them from the bad reality. For one, it will help, since the people who are in control of society such as it is will reward you for saying these incantations. For another because if you don’t break the incantations poured into your head since your earliest days, you can avoid thinking. You can avoid having doubts.

You see, because most people — and note when I say “kids” I probably include my own generation, now edging towards retirement age, and we might have to include the generation before mine. When did education burn to heck? When did history get lost in media-endorsed (largely Marxist) narrative? 1920? — don’t have anything to replace the “received slogans” with. They’ve never doubted or thought very deeply about what they were told. They were never skeptical. They never looked for reality.

Most humans just want to fit in. That’s all they want to do. And going against what amounts to revealed truth that they have the impression everyone believes in, is no part of it.

Worse, even though the narrative is falling apart, most people still aren’t thinking. They’re running into stories and hiding there: from Mad Max o Handmaid’s Tale, to that rusty sf future so prevalent in the seventies and eighties. It’s part of what’s egging on climate catastrophism, and a whole host of left-crazy.

And the people who have figured out the full ridiculous evil (how can evil be ridiculous? Well, it usually is. All of it is horrifically ridiculous. It’s just the horror that keeps us from laughing) of communism, prefer to turn it on its head, instead of thinking through it.

Take for instance the crap about “inequality”. There is really no reason to consider this a bad thing. The only time inequality is bad is when it is as in Cuba or North Korea the result of top-down imposition of equality on most of the people, so they can be exploited by the very few rulers.

In a normal, open society, of course there will be inequality, because some abilities are valued higher than others and some people are better at taking whatever is considered wealth and using it than others, and some of them are better at using social connection. Society is unequal because humans are unequal.

In my almost 60 years of life, what I’ve realized is that in the end people more or less get what they want. No, I don’t mean what they want in the sense of airy-dreaming. I mean, sure, I want all that and a pony. I just don’t want to deal with the pony poop.

This came home to me in our mid-thirties, when we were suddenly making good money. The path ahead was clear. Dan could have spent more time working at his career, gone into management and climbed that ladder. Alternately, he could spend more time with us and choose to stagnate at a comfortable-ish career level, but get to see his kids grow up and have time with me. I kind of faced the same, though in my case, even then, I was aware I would need to lie a lot, and lose my soul to become one of the “winners” in my profession.

Let’s say both of us realized we didn’t want success at that level. As competitive as we were, as much as we wanted to get to the top of our careers, there were things we valued more. There were prices we weren’t willing to pay.

A lot of inequality is like that. I can’t explain other people’s choices. A lot of them are living in what I’d consider stark discomfort, or even wasting their lives. But their choices led them there, and without effort to overcome it, effort to reach for what they say they really want, they are where they chose to be.

Even if the game was rigged or unfair, yes. Most of the time the game is rigged and unfair, because humans are like that, and not like impersonal angels. There are ways to overcome that unfairness, but they’re individual. All the government can do is introduce more wholesale unfairness.

But all of the “equity” and “diversity” and “inclusion” bullshit is nothing but a just-so story. The people I know who are unjustly held down are all colors, all sexes, all interests. And they’re unfairly held down mostly by these crazed efforts at creating “fairness.”

In the end, life is “you lays your money, you takes your prize.” Is the prize sometimes not what you expected? Well, things are never simple, are they? In the end, it’s a matter of striving for what you want, while life remains.

Or take abortion. Personally I don’t expect the SC to overthrow Roe. If they were going to, this leak and the riots that will follow — on command as usual — will scare the arrant cowards among them.

But the left is running around with their hair on fire. And they’re not all lying on purpose. A lot of them are repeating what they were told: Roe overturned, women and children most affected. Or: Nothing stands between us and women as chattel now. Or: It’s now the Handmaid’s tale.

None of this makes a whit of sense. You can’t get there from here. But it’s what these idiots were taught, the slogans in their heads, and even if they could question them, they don’t want to.

Because the story in their heads is simple, clear and wrong.

I mean, even if Roe were actually overturned, all it would do would be to devolve the matter to the various states. So the woke states would keep abortion to infinity (or past birth) and beyond, and it would stop it in red states.

So if abortion really leads to handmaid’s tale type scenarios (How only insane people can know) there will be an exodus from red states to blue states.

If someone can’t get an abortion in a red state, she can go to a blue state. Look, greyhound buses aren’t that expensive, and people can form charities to pay for it, right? If they believe that much.

So at most — AT MOST — what this will do is make abortion more difficult for women in red states.

WOE! Horror! Fascism! Racism! Cats and dogs sleeping together!

Generations of American women have been told if they can’t get an abortion, they’re virtual slaves. Because apparently if you can’t get rid of an already conceived child it’s the end of contraception, the end of women in the work place, the end of civil rights?

Does anyone really believe that load of nonsense?

It might be the end of sleeping around indiscriminately and therefore a blow (eh) to all the men who like no-attachment sex, but most human beings aren’t looking for the ultimate bang, no matter what the movies tell you. They’re looking for what Romance calls HEA which usually includes a family.

Oh, this might also adversely affect STD-treating doctors, or at least their income.

But it’s racism! black women won’t be able to have abortions? Sure, because in the mind of the left, all black people are poor. But given our poor are exquisitely tattooed, they probably can afford a grey hound bus. Or some liberal can fund it.

Also, since when is killing black babies proof you’re not racism.

And that’s when you need to turn the entire narrative on its head.

To begin with, let me tell you a story: when I was in high school — in a gifted class — most of us were the perpetual virgins geeks tend to be. One or two were either dating or had arranged marriage of some sort waiting.

And then there was this girl. I don’t remember her name. (It’s been 41 years.) She was pale, blue eyed, blond, (think a Marilyn Monroe type of look), very well dressed, not in the way of our generations.

I had two conversations with her, over the entire three years we were in the same form. In one, I was railing over the fact my parents wouldn’t let me wear makeup (I think we were 14 at the time) and she said I shouldn’t wear make up before I had to, and I should limit the amount of time I had makeup on, because she’d been wearing makeup all the time for three years, and her face was so ruined she had to put it on not to look terrible. Another, we were discussing abortion — and in this Catholic country, where abortion was illegal, our teachers and everyone pushed abortion at us as a humane, sane solution, a way not to ruin our lives with an unplanned child, etc — she very quietly told us she had two or three a year. She didn’t tell us why, nor that it wasn’t a good thing. She just made that statement.

The other thing I knew about her, is that she was picked up from school by older men in very expensive cars. Not the same men or cars from day to day.

In our minds — Lord forgive us — she was glamorous and daring, living an adult life, while we were children.

Took to my fifties, thinking over it, to realize what was happening. Now, I have no idea why or how she fell into that situation, but there were rumors her mom had left and she was living with her dad, who wasn’t a good person.

But you are adults. You can add two plus two. This very young girl had started wearing makeup at 11. She had “dates” with much, much older “boyfriends” and she had multiple abortions a year (Making them illegal doesn’t stop them, no. It just makes them expensive, and makes the doctors afraid to botch them, because it means their license.)

Having those abortions made it possible for whoever was profiting from her to keep doing so. No, I have no idea why they didn’t use contraception, but they didn’t.

And that scenario is much closer to the Handmaid’s Tale of women being exploited for being women than any scenario from the overthrow of Roe is likely to be.

Sure, some women have abortions of their own volition, for reasons that seem to them sufficient. But an equal number, if not larger, have them for a man’s convenience. Like that deluded woman who drowned her kids so her boyfriend would stay with them, a lot of them have abortions either to satisfy a man, or to satisfy society’s idea of who they should be.

Does this mean it should be strictly forbidden? Well, it won’t stop them.

But perhaps living it to the states is the best of all solutions. The states were supposed to be laboratories. We’ll see in which women will thrive, right?

Because so far, telling women what they want is to live men’s dreams of promiscuity and no one’s dreams of rootlessness doesn’t seem to be working particularly well.

Again, not that I think the SC will dare overthrow Roe. But if they did, a bunch of experiments would take place.

And the one thing it wouldn’t be is simple.

Is abortion good or bad for women? Depends on the woman, on when the abortion takes place, on why. Obviously sometimes you do need an abortion to save a life. Just not in most of the cases.

And the pursuit of guiltless and unbound abortion leads mostly to death and dissolution, either in Gosnell’s charnel houses or in forty year olds who are shocked they can’t conceive.

Only people wedded to shibboleths and simplistic narratives can be scared of the experimentation that the overthrow of Roe would bring.

Unfortunately, that is a lot of people.

Stunning Brave

Yes, of course we make fun when someone starts being hailed as “Stunning Brave” by the left. Because you know, some things are inevitable.

One of them is people who are hailed as stunning, brave! by the left are doing things that have almost zero chance of bringing any backlash, let along a higher price.

So mostly we sit around in shock at the stunning bravery of claiming some kind of heroism for, oh, being a climate alarmist — something already taught to every kid in school 20 years ago — or for “coming out” as gay, tolerance for which has also been taught in schools for 30 years, or for — say — saying that you think women are superior to men (which has been the unstated push of every school for decades — or for making fun of Christianity, which, yes, deeply offends the majority of this country (and large swathes of Europe) but which is so extremely unlikely to bring revenge down on your head as for that to be almost impossible.

Look, I’m not saying that iconoclastic defiance can’t be beneficial to a society. In a way, if art challenges the status-quo, we get the possibility of the culture correcting itself when it goes down some extreme insanity (oh, say, the covidiocy) without a big bloody revolution.

We know what super-compliant cultures are, from China, and we don’t want it. How many times have they burned it all down, then burned the books, and started over, in the same blinkered authoritarian way?

That’s not conducive to a future that’s better than the past (As G-d and Heinlein intended.)

What I’m saying is that what we’re seeing is not iconoclastic defiance. It’s in fact people pretending to be defiant, and to be in some kind of danger of backlash, while echoing the words that those power say, and the ideas they push on us.

What all the #sostunningbrave women (and men, but it’s mostly women) are doing is the equivalent of standing up in the middle of the class and telling teacher “Look, I know you might punish me for it, but I have to tell you that dress is beautiful, and it makes you look stunning. Also, you’re the best teacher I’ve ever had, so profoundly knowledgeable and caring.”

You can say you expect backlash, but you KNOW you’re going to get praised and rewarded. It is in fact why you’re doing that. Because you want the applause, but want to make it sound like you’re not a total suck up. which you are, of course.

You know what things take bravery to say?

Well, it’s become a joke among gay conservatives that coming out as gay was easy, it’s coming out as conservative that risks getting you fired or even physically attacked, if you work in certain fields and places.

But it doesn’t take that much. When you have a supreme court nominee afraid to — in any way — define a woman, you know the fear is real, the cancellations are real, and saying the simplest things like “women give birth” can get you expunged from the world of respectable people.

And yet, you know, reality goes on. Yes, body dismorphia is real, but if you’re born a biological female, you can give birth, if you’re not you cannot. And no amount of wishing will make it so.

Which means the rest of us need to be stunning brave for real, and stand up and proclaim the truth: inequality is just a symptom of freedom. The only way to have a society be completely equalitarian is to be a brutal, totalitarian repressive regime. (And even then, the ones at the top get perks. Biologically there are men and there are women. Yeah, you might feel like something else, and we are more or less — most of the time — decent human beings, so we’re not going to stop you living like you want to, or doing to yourself whatever you want to do to yourself, but stop denying that biological sex exists and has a meaning. And stop pushing this on children too young to know there is such a thing as sex, much less which they “feel” like. Because as of right now, people can’t actually change sexes. They can just take a lot of drugs and have surgery to make it seem like they did. But the side effects include a 4 times higher risk of cancer and sterilization. And if you’re an adult, you have the right to choose that for yourself, but kids don’t.

Other things. So many things you can say, including that no, in fact going against imaginary unbreakable rules of the imaginary 1950s by oh, wearing daring clothing, or swearing isn’t stunning brave. It’s just …. reinforcing the current rules.

In fact these days you can get attacked, cancelled or destroyed for saying “Good morning” or something equally innocuous. You don’t have to go against heir big, flamboyant precepts to get attacked or destroyed.

Sometimes it’s just what you are. Say, male, or worse male and white.

And sometimes it’s that you say something that was accepted until this morning, but the party has changed the line, and now 2 + 2 =43 and math is racist.

Look, society can’t go on like that. It is a mark of true evil that it takes everything apart and creates chaos.

Telling the truth can destroy you, but sometimes you have to do it. Let’s start with those of us who have less to lose — like me, like the rest of us who are on the lee-side of 50 and 60 — and maybe we’ll make it safe for the new generation to make a different future.

One based on actual reality.

I’m Sorry

So, I had planned to do a post today, and plant grapevines (yes, more) and finish a book, and edit a chapter and read a friend’s book.

My family didn’t precisely sit on me. They were either more or less polite than that — I’m not ACTUALLY sure which — but I was told I was taking the day off.

I negotiated — see how good I am? — and got them to allow me to do covers. It’s a compromise, because covers DO need to be redone for a bunch of books. And this way I don’t feel so guilty “taking it easy.” And I do enjoy playing around with art/ideas.

But apparently (!) I’m not allowed to write today, so no new post. And I’m encouraged to take…. er…. naps (they’re so weird.) Because I was working hard all weekend (!!!!) or something.

Speaking of which, I’m about to go take a nap. See you later.

(Oh, yeah, and the congestion, coughing,infernal headache is gone, so it was definitely SOMETHING in the hotel. I’m having episodic bouts of cough, because phlegm* doesn’t vanish overnight, but not getting worse, and no other symptoms. Will push A LOT of lemon tea.)

(*I used phlegm in a post and not as an insult. Achievement unlocked.)

Tulkon AAR

Sorry for not giving you warning guys, but after recent threats, (the ones here, and others) I think it might not be a brilliant idea to tell people where I’ll be. Yes, I know that’s counterproductive, and of course I’ll start announcing these, just right not it didn’t feel like the sanest thing to do.

Anyway, we went to Tulkon, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It’s a little town, in its second year, but for a little con it sure is packed with talent, my fans, and my old friends.

It was very nice. Busy, because as at Liberty con I couldn’t go more than ten steps without bumping into a friend or fan I hadn’t seen in years.

It was my first post-lockdown con. Not my first gathering with friends, of course, but my first con, and I felt… weird.

Apparently you can lose the knack for pretending to be an extrovert for the duration of a con. It was more …. consciously done.

If you saw me in a corner, glaring, it wasn’t you, or that I wasn’t enjoying myself. I was just tired and my itnernal alarms were ringing with “toooooooo mmmmmmany people, RUN.”

I didn’t run.

Even the panels were enjoyable. They were the guinea pigs for the first panel I did with younger son “Teaching my mom to write comics in the 21st century.”

This means, btw that yes, G-d willing we’ll do the same panel at Liberty, and MAAAAYBE at Fencon?

Younger son was unexpectedly great at it for a raging introvert. And yes, he still spent a ton of time hiding in the room (TBF everyone did, in a way, because we were all out of it/out of practice) but he actually made an effort at socializing.

Someone btw put Jim Curtis in charge of moderating a panel with David Weber and me on it. He made it through 3 of his planned four questions before we ran out of time. SOMEONE should give him an award for that. He might have broken the universe. Most people run screaming into the night. I mean, once at Liberty con I lost my voice from violently agreeing with David Weber for 1 hour.

The Texas Troublemakers hosted maybe the room party of the century. If you have to ask about the shower ducks, you weren’t there. 😉

So… Tulkon? A few growing pains, but massively fun and friendly.

I’m hoping they let me go back next year, despite the fact I accidentally blew my last panel.

Accidentally?

Well, there was construction going on, and they couldn’t get one of our rooms de-featherized. So I was having asthma attacks, and sneezing and coughing like a plague carrier (if you saw it, feather allergy is NOT contagious.)

So I somehow missed that I had a panel at 1 pm, called “with fans like this.” and we headed home.

I hate it when I do that. When it’s necessary, I usually find the organizers and give them a heads up.

Hopefully they understand and they let me come back next year, and when I should be more organized and able to do more, too.

And maybe a couple of you want to join me next year?

I mean, if you can’t make it to Liberty con, either geographically or because of the membership limits, come to Tulkon. The water con is fine.

Out Of The Hole

In a hole in the ground there lived a writer….

I’m not going to tell you — and you’re not going to ask — about hair on my toes (are you? that’s so rude!) but…. it’s all very weird yo.

As I was getting ready for this micro-con (it really, really is) and freaking out internally. I no longer know how to pack. I feel a million years old. People — ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So, we’re here. It’s fun. Mostly because well, all of the Texas troublemakers are here. So, you know, there’s a defense wall.

But mostly, being in con mode, looking around myself, the people I know….

I thought we’d all have aged 10 years. Because internally it feels like I aged ten years. I think that’s the effect of being put through the emotional ringer backwards and sideways for the last two. But … well, I don’t know about me. I probably do look 10 years older (So, my ear piercing closed. I found that out yesterday. I only wear earrings at public things. This has happened once before when I had infants. I’m going to have to have them re-pierced) but anyway, other people don’t. They look remarkably good.

What everyone looks is…. softer and calmer is not the right term. It’s a sort of “I’ve seen some sh*t and this ain’t nothing” which I’ve only seen before in people who came back from (real, combat) war or who had survived a very serious near-fatal illness.

Everyone is mellow, and a little…. softer.

Which didn’t prevent me from staying up till near midnight talking to friends. Because that’s what you do at cons. Something the last two years have made me very aware of: given all the friends I lost (Startlingly few of them of COVID) I’ll have fun with my friends while we’re both this side of the sod.

I’ll take the near-midnight as a sign I’m getting old. I used to collapse at two or three in the morning.

Anyway, I’m okay, will try to do promo post tomorrow morning, but no promises, depending on a ton of other things.

If not, will post on Monday.