Eugie K. Foster Update

Eugie Foster, author, editor, wife, died on September 27th of respiratory failure at Emory University in Atlanta.

In her forty-two years, Eugie lived three lifetimes. She won the Nebula award, the highest award for science fiction literature, and had over one hundred of her stories published. She was an editor for the Georgia General Assembly. She was the director of the Daily Dragon at Dragon Con, and was a regular speaker at genre conventions. She was a model, dancer, and psychologist. She also made my life worth living.

Memorial service will be announced soon.

We do not need flowers. In lieu of flowers, please buy her books and read them. Buy them for others to read until everyone on the planet knows how amazing she was.

–Matthew M. Foster (husband)

Stem Cell Transplant Day 32: in ICU. Breathing Hard.

In ICU with pneumonia. On oxygen and LOTS of meds. Docs don’t know what kind of pneumonia, can’t tell if I’m getting worse or better due to how one possible disease manifests. They want to do a bronchoscopy but can’t without intubating me. They’ve been fasting me for almost two days now in case of intubation. Trying really hard NOT to have to be intubated. In wait and see mode.

Stem Cell Transplant: Day 9 (Day +2)

Now that the chemo regimen infusion is i done, I no longer need to be tethered to my IV stand.  I use it as a glorified charging station. But now side effects are beginning to level up.

Stomach is in a perpetual state of distress which makes the process of eating an unpleasant skirmish each mealtime: “You gotta!” “Don’t wanna! No!’

As a compromise, the hospital stocks Carnation instant breakfast and peach smoothes,, so I’ve been slamming down a lot of nutrients that way.

Eyes are blurry, making it hard to read my computer screen. Doctor says I might need new prescription glasses after this. Nurses think it’s likely something that will improve after hell week. We’ll see.

Aaand I have hiccups.


On an up note, the nurses and doctors share my philosophy of ” Don’t let the pain/discomfort ramp up.” So I have spent the last couple days in a bit of a soporific haze. Go drugs!

Related tangent: If you get an incoherent email, text, or comment from me, don’t try to puzzle it out; it’s the meds.

Small Talk While Waiting for the Train

There’s a guy I often see on the eastbound MARTA platform in the morning who also gets off at the Georgia State station. He works in the Twin Towers (Floyd Building), which is catty-corner to the capitol. We sometimes chat as we wait for the train to take us to our respective jobs.

Classic introvert and all, my natural proclivity is to be laconic versus loquacious. Actually, small talk and I are epic fail. I’m not good at it, don’t enjoy it, and tend to avoid it (although I do shamelessly eavesdrop on public conversations ’cause it’s such a fruitful source of writing material). Fortunately, fosteronfilm is gifted at doing off-the-cuff social banter—a trait he inherited from his mom; when we visit her, there are times when I can’t get a single word in between the two of them—and when possible, I tend to rely on him to conduct the majority of our small talk in situations that require it.

So when strangers try to strike up a conversation with me on or waiting for the train—which happens pretty regularly—I typically don’t put much effort into reciprocating and eventually, after enough lapses into awkward silence, they give up. Which means it’s rather unusual for me to have a small-talk acquaintance like this guy.

I still do a poor job of holding up my end of the conversation. But he doesn’t seem to mind the periodic intervals of silence. We don’t have much in common, but that doesn’t seem to deter him, and he seems content to keep our association on this casual small-talk-on-the-platform basis. (I’ve run into a couple other persistent guys who have made forays into trying to pick me up, at which point my limited conversation becomes even more limited as I steer it exclusively to mentions of Matthew and being married. An exceptionally effective conversation stopper/deterrent.)

Today, my small talk buddy (we exchanged names once, but I can’t remember his—I suck at names, more proof of how small talk and I are epic fail) and I commiserated about how, being state employees, we haven’t gotten a cost-of-living pay increase in three years but agreed that we are nevertheless glad to have employment, and then, as we often do, we switched to the topic of weather.

He mentioned, as he has before, that he likes to fish and do outdoorsy stuff so he’s hoping for sunny days this weekend. I replied, as I have before, that I prefer cloudy days, and went on to explain that I avoid the sun, being somewhat photosensitive and prone to getting sick when exposed to it. And he admitted that he shouldn’t be out in the sun either because he has lupus.

“Really?” I sez. “Me too! That’s why the sun makes me sick.”

And we started talking about our respective over-zealous immune systems. I was actually sort of sad when it came time for us to split off to our separate destinations.

I guess sometimes I don’t mind small talk all that much.

Not-a-fiery-ball-of-twisted-metal (aka MARTA) and Writing Progress

This is the second day that there’s been trouble on the tracks during my daily MARTA commute. Yesterday I expected it. Every time it rains, it mucks up the works. ‘Course the usual rain-related delay is around twenty minutes, whereas I was waiting on platforms—both southbound and eastbound—for just shy of an hour yesterday. But today, the southbound train stopped and the operator announced we might have to turn back. Watched two other southbound trains pass us by (one slowing and stopping alongside us, making me wonder whether they were going to extend ramps for us to cross over on), and I grumbled at myself for not having the good sense to hit snooze one more time or otherwise be slower getting to the MARTA station this morning.

Well, at least it’s made me appreciate that my day didn’t start out with a fiery-ball-of-twisted-metal deathtrap. That’s gotta count for something.


Writing Stuff

New words:
• 500 on “Rampion.” Should have gotten more down, but I went back a couple scenes to re-connect with the voice I’m trying to maintain and started editing.

OutlantaCon and “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest” on Best of Escape Pod Top Ten List

Weekend was chok-full. fosteronfilm is working as a census taker—band-aid on our hemorrhaging finances and all—and he is neck-high in door-to-door interviews, so wasn’t able to accompany me for most of OutlantaCon. Fooie. But the folks at OutlantaCon took fabulous care of me; Edward deGruy, the Director of Guest Relations, is an absolute sweetheart and filled my ear with the most outrageous ego-booya throughout the weekend.

Panels were a mixed bag. I felt totally intimidated at my “Social Activism” panel. On top of being on the panel with Jessica Bair (co-chair of the Los Angeles Steering Community for the Human Rights Campaign) and Lee Martindale (amazing writer and editor and a leader in the Size Rights Movement), I ended up sitting next to Dr. Darieck Scott, who is not only a brilliant, celebrated author and literary professor at Berkeley, but is gorgeous to boot. I was treading water like a duck on speed to keep from going all “tee-hee-hee *blush* you’re cute tee-hee” whenever I was within ten feet of him.

And while I enjoyed my “Getting the Word OUT” panel, as it gave me a chance to get to know and catch up with my fellow panelists, Greg Herren, Edward deGruy, and ceciliatan, respectively, I shall best appreciate it for its cosmic irony, as we panelists outnumbered our audience.

But I did enjoy my “Beware of Homophobes, Homophobes Beware” panel. Thought it produced some interesting discussion and addressed subject matter I haven’t encountered at a panel before. Snaps go to neo_prodigy for his thoughtful questions and to Joseph McDermott for giving us a launch point with his opening question.


Writing Stuff

Was thrilled to see that David Steffen included “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” on his “Best of Escape Pod” top-ten list over at Diabolical Plots—at the #1 spot no less!

The Day After, Conventions, and Linguistic Subconscious

The morning after Day 40, and the atmosphere in my office is totally transformed. So peaceful, so quiet, so serene. ‘Course there’s hardly anyone here, but even so, it’s like a benevolent wind came and whisked away all the tension and anxiety and stress, leaving everyone blinking and grinning.

Although I am a little scared to open up my to-do list or bring up all the emails I’ve flagged as “needs response.”

In other news, I got my official guest approval letter from Dragon*Con the other day. I’ll again be wearing multiple hats at D*C this year. And OutlantaCon begins today. I’ll be at the opening ceremonies tonight. Hope to see folks there!


Writing Stuff

Haven’t had much time for writing these last couple days—a situation which is greatly alleviated now—so only managed something like 300 new words on “Rampion.” Did have an amusing instance of subconscious serendipity though.

I like for the names I give my characters to be somehow meaningful to their nature or their role in the story. I often spend far too long researching etymologies and the meaning of names to find just the right one, although I also sometimes just use whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

In my current WiP, I have a character who is obsessive, driven to assuage an unappeasable intellectual hunger, and I came to the point of “he needs a name now” while in the middle of some good writing flow. So I didn’t want to pause to do my usual name deliberation. Often in circumstances like that, I just stick in “XXXX” and go back later and do a Find–>Replace on the appropriate holder text. But this time, the name “Esur” popped into my head, and it felt right. So Esur he became.

This morning, while I was groping for a synonym for “hungry,” offered me “esurient.”

“Wha—?” sez I.

My vocabulary is fairly respectable, at least so sayeth all the standardized tests I’ve taken in my life, but this was a new word for me. Hopped out to and discovered that it’s from the Latin esurientem, the present participle of esurire, “to be hungry.”


My Latin is nonexistent (to my enduring regret, I listened to my mother and took Russian in high school instead of Latin). So was this a cosmic coincidence or some odd linguistic quirk of my subconscious? I’m going with quirk. It’s cooler.