PEDTM: Day 21

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:53 pm
mirabile: (My beating heart)
[personal profile] mirabile
Golly, did I choose a month for posting every day. Sorry. But today was pretty rugged. After that horrible phone call from Webster's doctor's office yesterday, he was a big mess. I was too, but not as much. He was unable to sleep and spent most of the night writing and re-writing a letter to his doctor pointing out the absurdity of getting in trouble because he did NOT have demerol in his blood.

We had to be at the car repair place by 7am, so we were up early anyway. I proofread his letter, made a couple suggestions he did not take, formatted it, and printed it out. He put in in a envelope with the doctor's name and URGENT: PLEASE READ on it.

Off to the car repair (which was to replace the visor on the driver's side and to install a retractable sun shade a friend had given us after visiting here) and then to Home Depot to buy replacement "coach lights" -- apparently that's the name of the sconces on either side of garage doors. Who knew? We swung by the doctor's, which had opened by then, and dropped off the letter, Webster making it very clear to the receptionist that he was upset and angry and "urgent" was really urgent to him.

When we got home I finally was able to get some food into him. He took a bath (to soothe him) and tried to nap but without any success. In the early afternoon he finally said: We need to buy a TV for the den. Which is true! I've been doing research because I never watch TV and the two little TVs we own are the old-fashioned CRT types. The technology has changed a bit. Anyway, I knew I wanted an LG and that it should be HD (high definition). We finally chose an LG HD LED-LCD, that's 4K. I had no idea what 4K meant but apparently it's really new technology. Whatevs. As long as Webster can watch TV that's all that matters. On Wednesday an electrician will be out to install the coach lights and the new TV, plus a few other things, so we are now ready for him.

I sincerely hope that is the last thing we have to buy for a while. So the electrician comes on Wednesday and the construction guy on Thursday and maybe that will be it for, like, twelve years. I hope.

We got home and I finished making another batch of cinnamon rolls (oh year, I started the levain last night and the rolls were rising while we were shopping). I fixed dinner and left Craig to eat his then ran over to the clubhouse gym. The minute I stepped on the treadmill I pulled out my phone to listen to The Essex Serpent -- and there was a voicemail from the doctor. So I emailed Webster to call him, and then ran back home to be there.

To our surprise, we were put straight through to one of his assistants who apologized and explained that the test results were really confusing, and she had had to go to the doctor to figure out what they meant, and that the doctor apologized for all the distress this had caused. I thought Webster was going to cry with relief, and we both thanked her profusely while she apologized again and again. Thank god.

But as soon as we hung up, a migraine tsunami washed over poor Webster and he is down with one of the worst he's had in months and months. As bad as in the pre-medicine days. I ended up working out in the new den using an aerobics video I illegally downloaded, and then swam for a little bit before coming in to shower. Then I cleaned up the kitchen and took the trash out. When I was out, the wind was calm and the sky mostly clear. Almost as soon as I stepped back into the kitchen, an enormous wind blew up and my phone started buzzing, sending me warnings about a storm.

The same thing happened last night. It was a calm and clear evening when I was in the pool. I came inside and by the time we went to bed I was hearing thunder. Then rain! A huge rain, too, really pounding down. No wonder it's 50% humidity outside these days.

But the kitchen is clean, Webster is dozing quietly, and I'm going to listen to my book for a while. I hope you have had a much calmer day than we have.
starandrea: (Default)
[personal profile] starandrea
1) signing up for fall races
2) scrapbooking
3) Mimi riding in her stroller

New Books and ARCs, 7/21/17

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:53 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

As we ease on into another summer weekend, here are the new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound this week. What do you like here? Share your feelings in the comments!


[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Here’s Sugar curling up with a good book, in this case the ARC of Don’t Live For Your Obituary, my upcoming collection of essays about writing and the writing life, which comes out in December from Subterranean Press. And you can win it! Here’s how:

Tell me in the comments which Beatles song I am thinking of right now.

That’s it!

The person who correctly guesses which Beatles song I am thinking of wins. In the case where more than one person correctly guesses, I will number the correct guesses in order of appearance and then use a random number generator to select the winner among them.

“Beatles song” in this case means a song recorded by the Beatles, and includes both original songs by the band, and the cover songs they recorded. Solo work does not count. Here’s a list of songs recorded by the Beatles, if you need it. The song I’m thinking of is on it.

Guess only one song. Posts with more than one guess will have only the first song considered. Posts not related to guessing a song will be deleted. Also, only one post per person — additional posts will be deleted.

This contest is open to everyone everywhere in the world, and runs until the comments here automatically shut off (which will be around 3:50pm Eastern time, Sunday, July 23rd). When you post a comment, leave a legit email address in the “email” field so I can contact you. I’ll also announce the winner here on Monday, July 24. I’ll mail the ARC to you, signed (and personalized, if so requested).

Kitten not included.

Also remember you can pre-order the hardcover edition of Obit from Subterranean Press. This is a signed, limited edition — there are only 1,000 being made — and they’ve already had a healthy number of pre-orders. So don’t wait if you want one.

Now: Guess which Beatles song I am thinking of! And good luck!


Agent to the Stars, 20 Years On

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:10 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

So, on July 21, 1997, which was a Monday, I posted the following on the alt.society.generation-x newsgroup:

Thought y’all might like to know. I’m happy, pleased, tired.

96,098 words, cranked out in a little under three months, working
mostly on weekends, grinding out 5,000 words at a sitting.

Learned two things:

a) I *can* carry a story over such a long stretch;

b) like most things on the planet, thinking about doing it is a lot
worse than simply sitting down and doing it. The writing wasn’t hard
to do, you just need to plant ass in seat and go from there.

I did find it helped not to make my first novel a gut-wrenching
personal story, if you know what I mean. Instead I just tried to write
the sort of science fiction story I would like to read. It was fun.

Now I go in to tinker and fine tune. Will soon have it ready for beta
testing. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

That novel? Agent to the Stars. Which means that today is the 20th anniversary of me being a novelist. Being a published novelist would have to wait — I date that to January 1, 2005, the official publication date of Old Man’s War — but in terms of having written a full, complete (and as it eventually turned out, publishable) novel: Today’s the day.

I’ve recounted the story of Agent before but it’s fun to tell, because I think it’s a nice antidote to the “I just had to share the story I’d been dreaming of my whole life” angle first novels often take. The gist of the story was that my 10-year high school reunion was on the horizon, and having been “the writer dude” in my class, I knew I would be asked if I had ever gotten around to writing a novel, and I wanted to be able to say “yes.” Also, I was then in my late 20s and it was time to find out whether I could actually write one or not.

Having decided I was going to write one, I decided to make it easy for myself, mostly by not trying to do all things at once. The goal was simply: Write a novel-length story. The story itself was going to be pretty simple and not personally consequential; it wasn’t going to be a thinly-disguised roman a clef, or something with a serious and/or personal theme. It would involve Hollywood in some way, because I had spent years as a film critic and knew that world well enough to write about it. And as for genre, I was most familiar with mystery/crime fiction and science fiction/fantasy, so I flipped a coin to decide which to do. It come up heads, so science fiction it was, and the story I had for that was: Aliens come and decide to get Hollywood representation.

(I don’t remember the story I was thinking for the mystery version. I’m sure death was involved. And for those about to say “well, you didn’t have to stick with science fiction for your second book,” that’s technically correct, but once I’d written one science fiction novel, I knew I could write science fiction. It was easier to stick with what I knew. And anyway I write murder mysteries now — Lock In and the upcoming Head On. They also happen to be science fiction.)

I remember the writing of Agent being pretty easy, in no small part, I’m sure, because of everything noted above — it wasn’t meant to be weighty or serious or even good, merely novel-length. When I finished it, I do remember thinking something along the lines of “Huh. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe I should have done this earlier.” In the fullness of time, I’ve realized that I probably couldn’t have done it any earlier, I wasn’t focused enough and it helped me to have some sort of external motivation, in this case, my high school reunion.

Once finished, I asked two friends and co-workers at America Online to read the book: Regan Avery and Stephen Bennett, both of whom I knew loved science fiction, and both of whom I knew I could trust to tell me if what I’d written was crap. They both gave it a thumbs up. Then I showed it to Krissy, my wife, who was apprehensive about reading it, since if she hated it she would have to tell me, and would still have to be married to me afterward. When she finished it, the first thing she said to me about it was “Thank Christ it’s good.” Domestic felicity lived for another day.

And then, having written it… I did nothing with it for two years. Because, again, it wasn’t written for any other reason than to see if I could write a novel. It was practice. People other than Regan and Stephen and Krissy finally saw it in 1999 when I decided that the then brand-new Scalzi.com site could use some content, so I put it up here as a “shareware” novel, meaning that if people liked it they could send me a dollar for it through the mail. And people did! Which was nice.

It was finally physically published in 2005, when Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press published a limited hardcover edition. I was jazzed about that, since I wanted a version of the book I could put on my shelf. The cover was done by Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik, who among other things knew of the book because I was one of Penny Arcade’s very first advertisers way back in the day, advertising the Web version of the book (those guys have done okay since then). Then came the Tor paperback edition, and the various foreign editions, and the audiobook, and here we are today.

When I wrote the novel, of course, I had no idea that writing it was the first step toward where I am now. I was working at America Online — and enjoying it! It was a cool place to be in the 90s! — and to the extent I thought I would be writing novels at all, I thought that they would be sideline to my overall writing career, rather than (as it turned out) the main thrust of it. This should be your first indication that science fiction writers in fact cannot predict the future with any accuracy.

I’m very fond of Agent, and think it reads pretty well. I’m also aware that it’s first effort, and also because it was written to be in present time in the 90s, just about out of time in terms of feeling at all contemporary (there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remaining, to pick just one obvious example in the book). At this point I suggest people consider it as part of an alternate history which branched off from our timeline in 1998 or thereabouts. Occasionally it gets talked about for being picked for TV/film. If that ever happens, expect some extensive plot revisions. Otherwise, it is what it is.

One thing I do like about Agent is that I still have people tell me that it’s their favorite of mine. I like that because I think it’s nice to know that even this very early effort, done simply for the purpose of finding out if I could write a novel, does what I think a novel should: Entertains people and makes them glad they spent their time with it.

I’m also happy it’s the novel that told me I could do this thing, this novel-writing thing, and that I listened to it. The last couple of decades have turned out pretty well for me. I’m excited to see where things go from here.


〜の (no)

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:10 am
[syndicated profile] jlpt4_feed
〜の (no)

    Meaning: 's, of
    Example: Fred's car. / Dixon of Dock Green

  [ View this entry online ]

  Notes:  
no (の) can be used in Japanese in so many ways that it's amazing.

One way is to show ownership:

This is my room.
これは私の部屋です。

Since in Japanese, no plurals exist this particle can act like an 's

So:

Kelly's car is very old.
ケリーの車はとても古いです。


  Examples:  
Note: visit WWWJDIC to lookup any unknown words found in the example(s)...
Alternatively, view this page on POPjisyo.com or Rikai.com


Help JGram by picking and editing examples!!   See Also:  
  • na    (の can be used in modifying words with nouns much as な can with na-adjectives.)
  • no-2    (Don't get の 'makes noun phrase' mixed up with の 'use noun to modify word'.)
[ Add a See Also ]

  Comments:  
  • Note how the object may be omitted if it is understood from context. (contributor: Amatuka)
  • の can be used in other ways which you will come across later in Japanese study. (contributor: Amatuka)
  • Also traslates as "of".
    Tree of the forest/the forest's tree:
    mori no ki = mori no ki
    (forest of tree) (forest 's tree) (contributor: Ayumi)
  • "koreha dare no pen" -- probably "kore WA dare no pen KA"? (contributor: 9000)
  • It's my understanding that 'ka' is usually left out in casual speech, where questions can be implied through intonation, but you should always use 'ka' in writing, of course. (contributor: metaphist)
  • I think that even in writing you can ommit the か in casual situations, simply putting the '?' as Miki did. In this context, adding か may change the nuance, I guess. (contributor: slack.hideo)
  • I was once told that adding ka at the end like that can make the question sound sort of interrogative or even threatening in some way.

    EX Who is behind this Graffiti?

    この落書きは誰の仕業か? (contributor: kadoka66)
  • Nice

    わたしを分かります (contributor: Prof3ssor MGW)
  • To 9000 You've pointed up the difficulty of writing about wpeech. As written, the sentence is correct, but when spoken the 'ha' character changes to the 'wa' pronunciation. Just one of those little things that makes Japanese so special. An example would be これはゾンビですか?, Kore wa Zonbi Desu ka??, a manga/anime series. (contributor: Dogbreathsan)
  • what about joushi + no.. for example..

    Thai e no sotsugyouryokou wo tanoshiminishite iru. (contributor: nrehv)

    [ Add a Comment ]
[syndicated profile] jlpt3_feed
ということですね (と云う事ですね) (toiukotodesune)

    Meaning: your message is that ...
    Example: you are coming to tokyo tomorrow,right?

  [ View this entry online ]

  Notes:  
ということですね. is an expression for confirming information obtained from another person.
but two points should be observed while using this expression:-
1 when just confirming a fact.
-the content to be confirmed is simply repeated or summarized.
Ex-(a ) あした 10じ から かいぎ を はじめる と つたえて いただきたいんですが...
--あした の かいぎ は 10じから という こと です ね.

2when confirming an action of another person.
-if the person is superior or not close to you,certain words need to be replaced with honorific words.in addition,if the speaker uses the words like 'there',meaning the location of the listner,then it should be replaced with 'here' while confirming.

Ex-(a)あした そちら へ いく と つたえて いただきたいん です が.
--あした こちら へ いらっしゃる と いう こと です ね.


  Examples:  
Note: visit WWWJDIC to lookup any unknown words found in the example(s)...
Alternatively, view this page on POPjisyo.com or Rikai.com


Help JGram by picking and editing examples!!
  Comments:  
    Sorry...no Comments exist yet for this entry...
    [ Add a Comment ]
starandrea: (Default)
[personal profile] starandrea
1) sleeping in a hammock
2) watching kings of con
3) clif kid z bars

Kidlet story

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:23 pm
resonant: Little Red Riding Hood and wolf. Text: "La beta noire." (beta noire)
[personal profile] resonant
New Draco-centric story from the kidlet over at AO3! I betaed. I even offered some comments that were not smiley faces.

I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine (24327 words) by terminally_underwhelmed
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Minor or Background Relationship(s), Pre-Harry/Draco - Relationship
Characaters: Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Black Malfoy, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Blaise Zabini, Luna Lovegood, Arthur Weasley, Astoria Greengrass, more like ace-storia amirite, various OCs, Minor Characters
Additional Tags: Epilogue What Epilogue, War Aftermath, Emotional Growth, Bureaucracy, Pre-Slash, Friendship, headcanon dump
Series: Part 1 of Solitaire/Mercenary
Summary:

They're together when the Dark Lord falls.

Draco is barely aware of his own senses, half-blind and exhausted from months upon months of corrosive fear, and whatever shred of reality is still allotted to him is in his father’s urgent grip on his shoulder and his mother’s hands around his and the way he leans on both of them.

PEDTM: Day 20

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:57 pm
mirabile: (Angels in America)
[personal profile] mirabile
I am so glad to be home, sitting quietly. It was too big a day, again.

I was a tad late to Mother's because Webster and I were on hold with his GP's office while they tried to find his file so they could tell us why they left a voicemail for him yesterday. Finally they asked to call back, but I just had to leave for Mother's so Webster told them to tell me, and I left.

To my surprise, when I got there Mother was gone. I asked the floor nurse where she was and he said, BINGO. Bingo? But she's blind? Well, someone is helping her. I was thrilled, though pretty surprised, but I went back to the room to start arranging the flowers I'd brought her.

My sister called then and she also marveled at BINGO? I don't think Mother's ever played a game of Bingo in her life! At that moment a therapist rolled Mother back in: turns out she was at her first occupational therapy session. They did an assessment, checked the X-Ray, and the diagnosis is de Quervains tenosynovitis, and you say that five times fast! It's a sort of tendonitis, very similar to carpal tunnel, and they think her wheelchair is too high so she has to push with her hands too much. They are going to lower her chair a big, plus do therapy, and I had to buy her a right-handed thumb spica splint. So not a fracture, thank goodness, and now maybe she'll start recovering a bit.

No Bingo, though :)

After we talked for a while, I took her to Olive Garden for a gin and tonic and a bowl of her favorite soup, zuppa toscana. She only ate about half the bowl, which worries me, but she had eaten a couple of the cookies I'd brought her, plus some candy my sister had sent from Hawaii, so presumably she got enough calories. I hope.

When we were back in her apartment, I discovered I had missed a call from the GP's office, so I called back while I was with her and sat chatting until someone finally came on. The conversation was very distressing and, imo, almost incoherent. This wasn't a doctor, I think she was a clerk? But she didn't really identify herself. At any rate, if I understood her, Webster is in trouble because his bloodwork showed he did NOT have any demerol in him.

I explained (why is this not obvious?) that he only takes the demerol when all his other migraine drugs don't work. She said (I think she said) that the instructions are to take them everyday, so he isn't following the instructions. The implication being he must be abusing them? Selling them?

Foolishly I tried to discuss this with her but quickly realized she was both 1) ignorant and 2) hostile, so what the hell. I told her that, per the doctor's instructions, Webster had an appointment this Monday with a neurologist that the doc had recommended and another appointment with the doc in ten days to follow-up. She sounded bored.

Well, you can imagine how I felt, so double or triple that and you can imagine how Webster took the news. NOT WELL. He has drafted a letter to the doc and will continue to work on it, but I dunno. When he last saw the doctor, he was told that the doctor had received a letter from the DEA saying that he, the doctor, wasn't permitted to prescribe anymore narcotics. Today we hear something completely different.

I know the DEA is being extremely heavy-handed about narcotics, so maybe the doctor is just CYAing?

Anyway, we were worried enough about meeting the new neurologist (we have seen so many over the years), and now he's extra worried. Perfect migraine recipe! My god, do I miss Kaiser Permanente in California.

Okay, enough droning on about my weird day. When I got home, I had a glass of wine, made potato soup and vanilla pudding, and now I'm going to take a long cool shower and read.

Oh, a link! I haven't spent a lot of time with this, but it looks fun: the most iconic book set in every country. You have to scroll down a bit but they really do mean every country. I think a better title would be "the most iconic book IN ENGLISH in every country," though.
lomonaaeren: (Default)
[personal profile] lomonaaeren
Title: Narcissa Protective
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairing: Narcissa/Lucius, Harry/Draco pre-slash
Content Notes: Angst, violence, manipulation, AU, crack
Rating: PG-13
Summary: As Harry and Draco head into their third year, Narcissa finds more and more varied uses for her skills than she ever knew she could. And if that includes intimidating Severus Snape, a werewolf, Sirius Black, and a rat…it’s not like this is this weirdest year she has ever had.
Author’s Notes: The AU of third year for the Narcissa series! This one is going to be a three-parter, most likely.

Read more... )

making space to be creative

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:32 pm
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

One week and about ten hours ago, I decided to step away from Twitter for a little bit. The specific details aren’t important, and I suspect that many of you reading this now are already nodding in agreement because you grok why. But I took it off my phone, and I haven’t been to the website on my desktop since. For the first 48 hours, I spent a lot of time wondering if I was making a choice that mattered, and thinking about how I wasn’t habitually looking at Twitter every few minutes to see if I’d missed anything funny, or to see the latest bullshit spewing forth from President Fuckface’s mouthanus. I was, ironically, spending more time thinking about Twitter since I wasn’t using it than I spent thinking about it when I was.

It started out as a 24 hour break, then it was a 48 hour break, then it was the weekend, and here we are one week later and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything important. I feel like I’ve given myself more time to be quiet and alone, more time to reflect on things, and I’ve created space in my life to let my mind wander and get creative.

I’m not creating as much as I want to, and I’m starting to feel like maybe I’ll never be able to create as much as I want to, but I’ve gotten some stuff done this week that probably wouldn’t have gotten done if Twitter had been filling up the space that I needed.

Here’s a little bit from my blog post that became a short story that grew into a novella that is now a novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything:

My mother was leaning against her car, talking with one of the other moms, when we arrived. My sister was throwing a Strawberry Shortcake doll into the air and catching it while they watched. I walked out of the bus and across the blazing hot blacktop to meet her.

Willow, catch!” My sister cried, sending Strawberry Shortcake in a low arc toward me. I caught her without enthusiasm and handed her back. “You’re supposed to throw her to me!” Amanda said, demonstrating. Her doll floated in a lazy circle, arms and legs pinwheeling, before falling back down into my sister’s waiting arms. The writer in me wants to make a clever reference to how I was feeling at that moment, about how I could relate to Strawberry Fucking Shortcake, spinning out of control in the air above us, but it feels hacky, so I’ll just talk about how I wanted to make the reference without actually making the reference, thereby giving myself permission to do a hacky writer’s trick without actually doing it. See, there’s nothing tricky about writing, it’s just a little trick!

It’s still in the first draft, and I may not keep all or even any of it, but after putting it aside for months while I was depressed about too many things to look at it, it feels so good to be back into this story.

Oh, speaking of writing, I got notes back from the editors on my Star Wars 40th anthology submission. I thought that, for sure, they’d want me to rework a ton of it, but all they asked me to do is change a name! And they told me it was beautiful! So I’ve been feeling like a Capital-W Writer for a few days.

And speaking of feeling happy for a change, Hasbro and Machinima announced that I’m a voice in the next installment of the Transformers animated series, Titans Return. And it feels silly to care about this particular thing, but Daily Variety put my name in the headline, which made me feel really, really good.I’ve always felt like the only thing that should matter is the work, and that the work should be able to stand on its own … but that’s not the reality even a little bit. Daily Variety is the industry’s paper of record, so when it chooses to put you in the headline of a story, people pay attention and it matters in the way that can make the difference between getting called for a meeting, or the last ten years of my life as an actor.

It’s also a good reminder that, even if I’m not getting the opportunities I want to be an on-camera actor, it is entirely within my power to create the space I need to be a writer.

 

[syndicated profile] phd_comics_feed
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "The Mysteries of SPACE" - originally published 7/19/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

The Big Idea: Nat Segaloff

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:34 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

When biographer and historian Nat Segaloff sat down to interview science fiction Grand Master Harlan Ellison for his new book A Lit Fuse, he knew that he was in for a challenge. What surprised him about the process was how much it wasn’t just about Ellison, but also about him.

NAT SEGALOFF:

How do you write something new about someone everybody thinks they already know? A writer who is famous for putting so much of his life into his stories that his fans feel that even his most bizarre work is autobiographical? That was the unspoken challenge in late 2013 when I agreed to write Harlan Ellison’s biography, an adventure that is just now seeing daylight with the publican of A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison.

I wrote the book because Harlan wouldn’t. He came close in 2008 when he announced he would write Working Without a Net for “a major publisher,” but he never did. Maybe he figured he’d said enough in his 1700 short stories, essays, and articles he’s published over the last 60 years. It wasn’t as if he was afraid of the truth; he always said he never lies about himself because that way nobody can hold anything against him. That was my challenge.

When we shook hands and I became his biographer, I also became the only person he ever gave permission to quote from his work and take a tour of his life. What I really wanted to do, though, was to explore his mind. What I didn’t expect was that, as I examined his creative process, I would also bare my own.

When you sit down with someone for a conversation, it’s fun; when you sit down with someone for an interview, it’s serious. Harlan has been interviewed countless times and he has always been in control. This time, I was. I had to get him to say stuff that was new, and I had to go beyond where others had stopped.

A Harlan Ellison interview is a performance. He will be quotable, precise, vague, and outrageous. He takes no prisoners. He will run and fetch a comic book, figurine, photograph, or book to illustrate a point, all of which breaks the mood. My job was to get him to sit still and not be “Harlan Ellison” but simply Harlan.

Harlan is one of the few speculative fiction writers (along with Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and a handful of others) who became public figures. Part of this stemmed from the quality of his work but much of it was created by his being, as I kept finding in the clippings, ““fractious,” “famously litigious,” and “argumentative.” Indeed, most of the stories I found during my research could be divided into two categories: “What a wild man Harlan is” and “I alone escaped to tell thee.”

Balderdash. What I discovered was a man who takes his craft seriously and fiercely defends others who labor in the field of words. An attack on them was an attack on him, and an attack on him was not to be deflected but returned in kind. “I don’t mind if you think I’m stupid,” he told one antagonist, “it’s just that I resent it when you talk to me as if I’m stupid.”

Even though I had final cut, I ran whole sections past him to get his reaction. He never flinched. In fact, he challenged me to go deeper. It was almost as if – and don’t take this the wrong way – I was Clarice Starling and he was Hannibal Lecter — the more I asked of Harlan, the more I had to give of myself. Both of us put our blood in the book even though I am the author.

—-

A Lit Fuse: Amazon|NESFA Press

 


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