Day 40: Sine Die, Callooh! Callay!

It’s Day 40, the last day of the 2010 Georgia legislative session. O frabjous day! There were vast swaths of this year where I wasn’t sure it was ever going to come, that we were trapped in some malevolent, infinitely recursive loop of never-ending, perpetual session.

There’s still today to get through, of course, and it promises to be a looong day laden with uck. But that’s okay; I brought my bunny slippers. Tomorrow it will be over, and next week I go back to a 4-day workweek.

Happy sine die.

Story Progress and Brooding Over Word Counts and Story Lengths

1.7K words on “Rampion.” Matthew had to all but drag me away from my laptop last night to go to bed.

Waist deep in the final scene, although there’s a chunk in the middle that still needs fleshing out. I’ve got a placeholder jammed in there which essentially reads: “Bad things happen here. Insert.”

This story is well over halfway done but not quite in the homestretch, and it’s just shy of 10K words. Doubt it’ll overflow from novelette into novella length—especially considering there’s vast swaths of utterly raw, unedited prose which are undoubtedly overwrought, overdone, and will need to be ruthlessly slashed, not to mention all the trimming I’ll surely want to do to streamline the pacing and plot. Even so, it’s still pinging my “Eeep! Too long, too long! Unmarketable!” alarm.

I know in my head that a story should be exactly as long as it needs to be, marketing constraints be damned. But it is an indisputable reality of short fiction that longer is harder to sell. There are fewer markets which accept stories greater than 5K words, and there’s a sense of a longer work having to be better than its shorter counterparts in order to earn its space.

It’s both frustrating and a shame. I’ve been finding myself enjoying novelette- and novella-length short fiction more these days, and I appear to be gravitating to writing them too. ‘Course, I’m still stymied by that hop from short form to novel, but I’ll get there eventually…probably.

Uppy-Downy-and-Generally-Slammed: State of the Eugie

It’s been so uppy-downy-and-generally-slammed this last while that it feels like I haven’t had the time or energy for more than tweet-sized posts. Finally managed to clear some stuff off my plate (although my @#^!& plate still way overfloweth), so herein a catch-up of recent good, bad, and meh:

The good:
• Had an appointment with my brand new rheumatologist yesterday. I remain royally displeased with the State of Georgia for forcing me to switch health care providers, as my previous rheumatologist was the best doctor I have ever had. But so far, I have no complaints about the new one, who is someone the previous one recommended when I told him I was having to change insurers. She seems both nice and competent, which is a remarkably difficult combination to come upon in doctors for some reason.

However, I’d been stable for so long under my previous rheumatologist’s care that, as he put it, I’d “graduated” with him to only needing annual follow-ups. But this new one, because I’m a new patient with a slew of ailments, wants a follow-up in a month and then bimonthly visits after that. Sigh.

Also, since I haven’t had any lab work done in four months (before I was having labs done bimonthly to ensure that the drug I’m taking to keep my immune system from rising up and declaring war upon the rest of my human suit isn’t destroying my kidneys) and because I’m a new patient, she ordered a slew of bloodwork. TEN vials worth. Glad her phlebotomist was skilled, quick, and gentle, but still…owitch.

The bad:
• My car’s check engine light came on last Friday. It was overdue for various tune-ups and maintenance thingums, so this was the final indicator of “can’t put it off any longer.” New spark plugs, new timing belts, a new motor mount clip, a fuel induction thingy, and we’re down $1.5K. Because, of course, we weren’t hurting enough financially this year. Ouch. A lot.

The meh:
• The Atlanta Film Festival provided fosteronfilm with an all-access pass this year, great for not only seeing the films but also powwowing with the filmmakers—film festival networking and all. But, of course, I can’t go with him, not having either an all-access pass or the time to do so (see below re: late running legislative session), with the result that I haven’t and won’t be seeing very much of him this week. Came home for the first time in eight years to an utterly empty house yesterday. Far too quiet and utterly depressing.


Writing Stuff

• Finished my narration of “Honored Guest” by Ellen Kushner for PodCastle. Because the legislative session has run so late, my to-do list is scary-big, I’m behind on everything, and it was a last minute scramble to get this done in time. I would have liked to have done another editing pass on it, as I think my inflection and dynamic range in a few places could’ve used some fixing up, but I was already bumping up against the deadline.

It’s a lovely story. I hope I did it justice.

• Resumed work on the short story “Rampion” that I began in February. Obviously wasn’t able to finish it then. Added about 2K words, and it’s looking suspiciously like it may turn into a novelette.

Outlantacon Schedule and Press Release

Got my panel schedule for Outlantacon. Can’t believe it’s in less than two weeks!

Friday 4/30, 7PM: “Meet the Guests/Opening Ceremonies” – Mingle with the con attendees as well as some opening remarks by the Con Committee and the Guests of Honor.

Saturday 5/1, 1PM: “Social Activism” – Seemingly traction is being gained across the U.S. for queer rights but what can you do to help? What is the most effective use of your energies?

Saturday 5/1, 4PM: “Getting the word OUT” – I love what I read/see/hear in queer speculative fiction, but how do I tell everyone? How can I keep my favorite authors in print or TV/movie producers putting out new material?

Sunday 5/2, TBA: “Joss Whedon – The single biggest influence in queer themes on TV today?” (tentative)

Also check out this press release. Hope to see folks there!

Skype on my Droid

I installed Skype Mobile on my Droid last night which allows me to make Skype-to-Skype calls for free. Thought at first it might be billed to my phone minutes, but nope, confirmed it this morning, Skype-to-Skype is free and unlimited.

fosteronfilm and I play in a cross-country D&D 4E game on Fridays run by dude_the with teflaime and dean13. We use Skype to conference call all of us together and MapTool as the tabletop emulator. I usually run two machines for it, my VAIO laptop for Skype and our old, clunky HP laptop, with its much larger screen, for MapTool. (The HP is somewhat ancient and has a tendency of throwing a hissy fit if I try to run both Skype and MapTool on it.)

Thinking about trying Skype for our gaming tonight on my phone so I don’t have to have quite so many machines going. Although, admittedly, there is a certain geek-joy in being surrounded by all that glowy tech.

State of the Eugie

The General Assembly has set out its schedule for the remainder of this year’s legislative session. We will be adjourning sine die on April 29th.


So not soon enough. This extended session is running roughshod over me. My concentration is shot. The towering stack of items in my to-do list is about one “reply to person x’s email” from becoming sentient and rampaging through downtown Atlanta. And now my wingstubs have started acting up.

It’s not that it’s been a particularly hellish day-in-day-out sort of session; it hasn’t. But the prolonged stress permeating our office and the capitol is thrashing my already less-than-robust immune system. My energy level is way down, and when that starts crashing, it dominoes into all my other sundry human suit issues. I’ve even upped my stimulants to try to counteract the worst of it, and my brain still just flatlines once afternoon hits. I’m loathe (and somewhat scared) to increase it any more, so in order to restore my faculties to some semblance of wakefulness, I have to down enough caffeine to make me sick to my stomach—and I’m not doing that again anytime soon.

So yeah. Glad to have a date when this interminable session will end. But gawd, I wish it were sooner.