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27th April 2016

8:08pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Words: 3418
Total words: 41951
Files: 5
Music: No music
Tea: Jin Die with added ginseng
Reason for stopping: Stop...?

I've gone back and put alien POV all through. Because when you write in omni you can do that, bwa ha ha!

Actually, I've put just a little bit of alien POV before each chapter, so it amounts to a whole chapter, but spread out throughout the whole rest of the book so far.

I think I should have posted a thud when I wrote some last week and didn't.

Anyway, it's coming along.

16th April 2016

4:49pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Words: 6444
Total words: 37831
Files: 5
Tea: White Orchard
Music: No music, not writing to music much right now
Reason for stopping: time to make dinner, will work more after

So this is not all today, some was yesterday.

I'm having trouble with the SF stuff I always have trouble with, but I am also having some people-stuff trouble and I'm not sure why. I keep writing stuff and then realising it needs to be slowed down and opened out and characterised, and that 500 words needs to be actually a couple of chapters, and then the thousand words that comes after can't be the beginning of the next bit because then the pacing goes weird. The alien invasion is ever-receding in front of me as I write chapters about people going for walks on the Mars-beach and having conversations about changing gender for an amateur production of The Importance of Being Ernest.

Eh well, onwards and upwards.

14th April 2016

4:31pm: Jane Austen to Cassandra
Dearest Cassandra

We thought to have removed to Winchester by now, but Eliza has taken a chill and so we stay here another week, and you should not expect us to join you until after Whitsun.

Let me explain to you the advantages of remaining longer in this neighbourhood -- there are two tolerable walks, one linen draper, with very poor stock, our apartments remain as unsuitable as I explained in my last letter, and Aunt Tilson has not learned the knack of keeping good servants. Nevertheless, these little deficits are made up by the company. Aunt Tilson chatters on with perpetual good cheer, little Anna is learning her scales and should be a fine singer one day since she practices constantly, and the curate does not call above thrice on any usual day.

My only comfort is that you should not have to endure all this, though if you were here to laugh with me I might be more comfortable. Do tell me how you all go on at home.

We saw the gazetted beauty Miss Pelham in church on Sunday, but did not speak. I did not think so much of her looks as they are esteemed, her curls were crimped very tight and the fruit seemed to weigh down her hat sadly. Her manner was very gracious, bowing to left and right. There is no doubt she knows her reputation and means to live up to it, and I dare swear she will have a husband by this day twelvemonth.

The weather remains very dirty, with much rain, varied by high gales. No surprise Eliza succumbed to a chill, it is rather a wonder the rest of us have managed to find health thus far supportable. I did warn Eliza to put on her wrapper, and that she should not linger out of doors on our way home from church, but she paid no attention, and this is the inevitable result.

I should close now so that Iris might get it into the post so it might reach you before you begin to expect us and then be disappointed.

Yours affectionately,

J. Austen

P.S. If you should discover more of that fine white lace at not above 6d an ell, pray purchase three yards for me, for I have a fancy to furbish up all my bonnets.



J. Austen, my dear,

I believe Iris may have played you foul and sent your letter astray. Although it had my name quite plainly on it, I fear it was intended for another.

I do not know you, though you write to me so affectionately. All I can tell you is that your name will echo through the ages besides other poets yet not born: Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Ford. Once you are dead, your skull will chatter beside theirs in Hades whenever your works are quoted in the upper world. Is it not a charming conceit? Do you not care for that, truly, more than for lace at 6d an ell?

I am sorry things go on so poorly, though I confess I am charmed by your ironic eye. To respond in the same vein, and since you asked, things go quite marvellously here. Troy revels in the tenth year of this delightful siege. Until it ends this autumn, I need not fear the day of my enslavement or death. The weather holds fair for many days now. The clarity of the sky affords us excellent views from the walls down into the Grecian camp. Unfortunately, our besiegers appear to have for the most part recovered from the plague that was raging there until recently and there are no more bonfires of corpses. I will admit I do not miss the aroma.

When taking a circuit of the walls for exercise I watched the Greek heroes polishing up their weapons and chariots for some new assault. When it comes, as we hourly expect, there will be the chance to see much fine athletic endeavour. Some among the Greeks are well formed men. If you care for the glamour of soldiers at all then you would appreciate the sight of Achilles, for he has a very well-turned leg.

I met my brother Hector up on the walls. He is yet in excellent health, and expected to remain so for several days, though in the course of things he must die when the moon is next full. Our dear father, who was also enjoying the prospect and the only walk the city now affords, reproached me for prophecying wildly, as usual. You are right in noting the pointlessness of such things, and yet, one cannot help from doing it, do you not find?

Coming down to accompany my father to the throne room, we ran into my brother Paris, and with him Helen, formerly queen of Sparta. You talked of esteemed beauties, and you should know that Helen is the most beautiful thing imaginable, far more beautiful than a scorpion, or even a poison frog, for there is human intelligence there. People often say she is like the gods, but it is not so, for I met a god once (Apollo) and he was much more straightforward and did not have such a dangerous glitter. She had no trouble getting a husband, nor in losing him and getting another when she was tired of him, and her first will take her back without a murmur. She will come away from all this scatheless to sit and trim bonnets for her grandchildren and cluck her tongue with the gossips in the corner about what terrible people we all were. I confess I cannot like her much, and I hope your Miss Pelham is not such another.

That is all for now, so keep well, do good work while you may, and come to rest at last in Winchester.

Yours sincerely,

Cassandra, the daughter of Priam

P.S. I have given you all of my news, though it is no news to you, for you know as well as I do how Troy shall fall and what will become of us all.


Dearest Cassandra,

I had the most extraordinary response to my last letter to you. I shall not tell you of it, for I am absolutely sure that if I were to tell anyone I would not be believed...


Not a poem, but nevertheless sponsored by my awesome backers at Patreon! Her sister was called Cassandra, she really was! And reading her letters, every time I read "Dearest Cassandra" I kept thinking about this. This is specially for sartorias.

13th April 2016

4:29pm: Necessity ARC -- Charity Auction
My Necessity ARCs have just arrived, very exciting!

AS last year, I am planning to auction one here for the Vericon auction -- it's a little late. The money goes to Cittadini del Mondo, an excellent tiny organization working with refugees in Italy.

I will take bids in comments, and the auction will run for a week, closing when I get up on Thursday 21st April. This is for one beautiful ARC of Necessity, signed and personalised. The book will not otherwise be available until July 12th! And the money is for a really good cause, so have at it!
9:57am: Not in this town!
Did anyone wonder why he came this far,
To this town with one exit, one stop light, one bar,
Four neon churches, one high school, one park
Full of unspoken things taking place in the dark?

He drove in from the east in a big beat-up car.
Long shaggy dark hair, smiling eyes, a guitar,
Some hooch. All the girls of the town just went wild,
Not knowing at first he was Semila's child.

"Oh no, not in this town, unmarried," they said,
Her dad cast her out, said for him she was dead,
Her sister pretended she didn't exist
With her belly that proved she did more than get kissed.

Must be twenty years now since she went to the bad,
Since she cursed them and left, since she swore she was glad
To get out of this town, narrow, biased, and dumb,
Stalking off to the exit she stuck out her thumb.

Not shamefaced, Semila, she stood there with pride
With her belly thrust out, with a baby inside
A truck slowed, two drivers, she hopped in-between
And that was the last time Semila was seen.

Her boy from the east went by "Leo". His car
Had rust-stains like ivy. He drove to the bar
And ordered a pitcher, then sat in the sun
Just strumming, as girls wandered up one by one.

Now Theo, his cousin, was quiet, uptight,
A young cop, with need to do everything right,
Never drunk in his life, never stepped on a crack,
A good boy he was, who cut nobody slack.

Their mothers were sisters, Semila and Gail,
One passionate proud, and one fluttering frail.
Their boys were like betta-fish, spoiling to fight
When they clashed in the bar there on Leo's first night.

"Hey stranger, hey foreigner, get out of town,"
Theo said. Leo raised up a brow, sitting down,
While his cousin was standing in threatening pose
And Leo smiled lazily: "Do you suppose,

You might drink with me?" Leo asked, "Cousin of mine?
Drinking and dancing is nearly divine,
Let go, dance a little, and drink from my cup
And I'll leave you in peace here to let you grow up."

"I'm too young to drink beer. And I don't know your face?"
"I'm the son of Semila. You'd say her disgrace?"
"Did you card him?" called Theo. "He's not twenty-one!"
And he took a step back, with his hand on his gun.

Leo spread out his hands with placatory smile
And walked out of the bar, and the girls all the while
Were cooing and flirting and whispering "Oh!"
While Theo gave warnings they watched Leo go.

He camped in a barn on the edge of the park
Distant hum of the highway, a dog's lonely bark
And the sound of his music that wove through the dusk
Like sandalwood, ambergris, jasmine and musk.

Strong perfume hung over the town the next day
A whiff of exotic that called folk to play,
Alluring and tempting, the sound of his notes,
Drifting in on the wind, like a warmth in their throats.

Not a woman in town could resist him, most men
Went out once or twice, drank with Leo, and then
He'd let them alone, only Theo refrained,
But the girls day and night danced his dance unrestrained.

Singing and dancing and drinking all hours
And chasing all over with kissing and flowers
Free love and free music, and hooch up for sale,
"No, not in this town!" Theo threw him in jail.

Leo stood at the window and sang through the bars
Wove the world in his song, from the hum of the cars
And light-tripping feet, from his mother's old shame
When the town cast her out and attributed blame

Through the long afternoon, as the memory of scorn
Built the whisper of wind through the ripening corn
Dust devils rose spiralling, dancing along,
And the weight of the sun built the power of his song.

Every female in town then, from puberty on,
Ran off to the park, every woman was gone
Teenagers to grannies, run wild on the hill
And they couldn't be caught and they wouldn't stay still.

The high school half empty, the churches bereft
Whole town half-deserted, no woman was left,
And no one could stop them, and no one would dare,
Till Theo found out his own mother was there.

His mother was gone, so he marched to the jail:
"Make them stop, I demand it! My poor mother, Gail!"
And Leo smiled slyly and said "Would you see
What wild women look like, when once they get free?

This town tossed out my mother without half a thought.
You wouldn't drink with me, afraid to get caught,
Daren't dance the wild dances, intoxicate, oh
No never in this town, I know you won't go."

"Don't call me a coward," said Theo. "My mother
Needs rescuing now -- be a cousin, a brother."
"You need my help now? Well such aid has a cost,"
"I'll pay it," said Theo, and thus he was lost.

"It's hard to get near them, so dress as a girl.
Let me make up your face, prink your hair with a curl.
They won't suspect, cousin, drink this and advance,
And you're sure to catch sight of the girls in their dance."

"I must find my mother." "But what about mine?"
"Your mother, Semila? Is she here? That's fine."
"Take my keys, you should drive, coz," is all Leo said.
Theo drove along Main Street, blazed straight through the red.

Then the drink in his veins and the madness took hold,
Filled with fear for his mom, and the things he'd been told,
And Leo directing: "Turn left here. Now stop.
Get out of the car. Dance, don't look like a cop."

Theo danced as he went, and they tore him apart,
His own mother's fingernails ripped out his heart
And she woke to discover her deed, poor sad Gail.
In the end it's a punishment quite out of scale.

Don't bring on disaster refusing to bend
When people screw up try to act like a friend
Let humans be human and choose their own fate,
Accept the small madness to ward off the great.

This is of course a version of Euripides "The Bacchae". Thanks to my patrons on Patreon, do sponsor me there if you'd like to, and thank you if you already have!

12th April 2016

7:37pm: Obsessed with Petrarch.
I am obsessed with Petrarch. As you know,
If you know anything, he loved a girl
Who was "the wind, the tree, the golden curl"
Was "Laura: l'aura, lauro, l'aureo."

And so I know he'd never look at me.
It's hopeless. And it's worse than that, he's dead
Six hundred forty years. So then, instead,
I sublimate with yearning poetry:

I love the way you write and smile and jest!
I love the way you set a distant goal
And trust that human effort does the rest.

I love the books you love, I love the whole!
I love the way you play with words, but best.
I love the way you love the human soul.

As you may just possibly have noticed if you read my LJ, I have written a bunch of poems about Petrarch. I was just saying to somebody that I'm obsessed with him, and I immediately thought "But of course, he'd never look at me" and I just had to do it as a sonnet.

Supported by my excellent Patreon supporters, thank you!

7th April 2016

12:39pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Words: about 4000 new words? Hard to say.
Total words: 31387 (I put stuff back in, but also changed it)
Files: 6 (dates and names)
Music: No music
Tea: The last of the Pu erh carbonel brought from China
Reason for stopping: Realised I should update

So a lot of this has been revising stuff I already had, but also writing new stuff. I also had a version control problem where I revised a chapter and then realised I had a later version of it and had to reconcile the two, ick. I generally avoid this problem by not writing different drafts. I've been working on this book on and (mostly) off since 2003. I'll tell you an odd thing though, when I know something I know it -- new version of a chapter from a different POV, and then I looked at the old version, from at least ten years ago, and it's amazing what's the same.

Anyway, I've written a whole new chapter since I last posted a thud, as well as a bunch of tweaking and rewriting.

Now a chapter setting up more character stuff, and then an alien invasion. Didn't you always think Mansfield Park would be better with an alien invasion? No? Well, you probably didn't think Mrs Norris was the most sympathetic character either.
9:44am: Another Oracle from Dionysos
A white sky, a thin snow,
empty arms of trees
dark curve of waiting cave.
Winter's king comes back
heavy cup in outstretched hand
red lips parted in a slippery smile
saying "Drink, drink, go in,
find the wild place,
that spring where the wild
bubbles up uncontrolled
where the veined ice skims over black water
the rose meets the vine
and the mask begins to crack.
Let go now, own what is your own
drink deep and grow.
You are the one who invoked me,
how can you be surprised I showed up?"

Originally posted as a comment on a locked post on a friend's journal, but I think it works without any context at all.

(Thank you generous Patreon backers!)

4th April 2016

9:47am: The Just City nominated for Prometheus Award
The Libertarian Futurist Society give the Prometheus Award (an actual ounce of gold) every year to a science fiction novel "that dramatize the conflict between liberty and power". They are libertarians, but they read widely and nominate thoughtfully, and while this is an overt straight up political award (given annually since 1982) they don't only give it to people whose politics they agree with -- as you can tell by the way they gave it to me for Ha'Penny in 2008, and to Ken MacLeod, and Delia Sherman and Cory Doctorow. They wanted an award to recognise the stuff that's doing what they like, and they got together and organized one, and keep on doing it every year. I respect that a lot.

And... I am on an awards ballot with Gene Wolfe!

Here's the complete list and description of the nominees, in alphabetical order, from their press release:

"Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey) – Slavery versus freedom is a central theme of the intriguing second novel in “The Red Rising Trilogy,” set on a future Mars inhabited by the idle-rich Golds and slave-miner Reds. Questions about trade-offs between chaos and control and whether the ends justify the means are explored as the libertarian protagonist strives to help the Reds revolt and create an equal-rights society only to learn that some slaves actually don’t want to be free. (This is Brown’s first recognition as a Prometheus nominee and Best Novel finalist.)

Apex, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot) –Set in a future where a substance called Nexus allows humans to connect through their minds, the gripping finale of the “Nexus Arc” trilogy dramatizes a conflict between major world governments, controlled by deceitful and corrupt men who censor truth and spread disinformation, and rebels who seek to bring down these governments by improving communication and enlisting the support of free individuals (both human and human-derived AI). A central question explored is whether it’s better for governments to contain technology, in the name of protecting the people, or to allow technological advancements, even with big risks. (Naam won the 2014 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Nexus, part of a trilogy that continued with Crux and ends with Apex.)

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow) – This epic hard-science fiction novel, about a cataclysmic event that threatens human civilization and the planet Earth, avoids ideology but still dramatizes how a lust for power almost wipes out humanity, while also showing how voluntary cooperation, individual initiative and the courage to face reality and tackle overwhelming problems through reason and private enterprise helps tip the balance towards survival, as a small group – including some of Earth’s bravest and richest entrepreneurs – risk their lives to save mankind. (Stephenson won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2005 for The System of the World.)

The Just City, by Jo Walton (TOR Books) – Recognizing that utopian works are one of the sources for science fiction as a literary form, Jo Walton returns to one of the founding utopian works, Plato’s Republic, and enters into a critical dialogue with it. The process she envisions is science fictional — admirers of Plato from across many centuries are gathered together to raise children as citizens of Plato’s ideal city — but the underlying premise is fantasy: the project is initiated by Athena, and taken up by Apollo. Walton’s political themes – including issues of “equal significance” and the difference between genuine and manipulated political consent – are dramatized through a series of striking incidents and well-drawn characters. (Walton won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2008 for Ha’penny)

A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe (TOR Books) –This intriguing sci-fi murder mystery – which also works as an old-fashioned detective novel and a writer’s meditation on mortality and the desire to produce a body of work that will be remembered – offers a deeply sympathetic portrait of a human clone/slave “book” struggling for his basic existence and humanity in a diminished future Earth where such “books” are treated like pieces of property that can be checked out and ultimately burned. (This is the first Prometheus finalist by Gene Wolfe, one of the most admired sf writers in the field.)

Fourteen novels were nominated for this year’s Best Novel award.

The other nominees: Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald (TOR Books), Squirrel Days, by Dustin Costa (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), The Turing Exception by William Hertling (Liquididea Press), InterstellarNet: Enigma, by Edward M. Lerner (FoxAcre Press) , Annihilation Score by Charles Stross (Ace Books), The Miskatonic Manuscript, by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), The Testament of James by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), Joe Steele, by Harry Turtledove (ROC) and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (http://hpmor.com/)"

1st April 2016

8:17am: Augustine's "On the Truth of Religion"
Looking for this work of Augustine
took thirty minutes. Googling in error
I found De doctrina and not De vera
but then I found this PDF, as seen.

He wrote this in a world I know so well
where Christians (different sects), pagans, and Jews,
all in one Empire, squabbled over views
of grace, philosophy, and souls, and hell.

And then he won. And in that victory
this work was copied, copied, copied, read
in different worlds, as what a saint had said,
not part of conversation flowing free.

It took me half an hour to find the text
and reading it has left me slightly vexed.

(Support my poetry Patreon, and thank you if you have!)

29th March 2016

9:30am: Ha'Penny -- Der Tag Der Lerche -- nominated for Kurd Lasswitz Preiss
The Kurd Lasswitz Preiss is Germany's most prestigious professional SF award. Der Tag Der Lerche is nominated both under best foreign novel and as best translation. It has some very strong competition in both categories, but it's always very nice to have this kind of recognition and see that people like my book.

28th March 2016

8:22pm: The long thoughts of trees
Thrust, suspire, leaf, retire
a season's reach,
the branch's grasp
through trickling rain the roots remain
the early beech, the blossom's gasp.
Year turns. Earth churns,
and each to each
is one long clasp
of trunk to bough, of then to now,
and all we teach:
no saw, no rasp,
no choking ice that breaks us twice,
no caterpillar on the peach,
striking like asp
no burning fire, no snarling wire.
Just long slow speech
through years of sun and rain, oh please,
breathing the long thoughts of trees.

Supported by my Patreon do back it if you want to encourage me.

23rd March 2016

5:33pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Poor Relations, the book I work on in between other books, that I suddenly saw a new way to approach.

Words: 3125
Total words: 12235 (plus 13000 words I just cut)
Files: 6 (Time, plan...)
Music: No music, Ada working
Reason for stopping: Time to make dinner

Maybe I'll write this now and write Lent later, like maybe in Italy when I'm in Italy in June. Right now this seems like a fun thing to be working on. This is a whole chapter that works now that never worked before.

This is Mansfield Park on Mars, by the way.

And you can thank my Patreon because I was looking at old false starts because of sharing them with people on that. I'm not sharing ones that seem alive when I poke at them.

11th March 2016

11:39am: Zephyr Haikus (Some things I saw from the train, 8-10th March 2016)
You see the backsides
Of cities, but the best face
Of the lands between.

As the spring ice breaks
An eagle swoops to the stream
Rises with a fish.

Deep piled mountain snow
Tall straight pinetrees, red and green
Distant blue valleys.

A rainbow peeking
From a white lateen-sail cloud
Over snow capped hills.

Huge patient eyes of
Brown horses trimmed with black manes
In a spring meadow.

OMG there are
Flowers growing in the ground...
California!

8th March 2016

11:03am: A Feminist Perspective on Glaciation
So I hear that somebody wrote a paper about the feminist perspective on glaciation -- and that sounded nifty, and the connection was so obvious that I thought I'd write a poem on the same subject. And thanks to my Patreon sponsors!

Unlike the volcanic eruption,
the hot gush, the sudden upward thrust,
this starts with a hollow on a mound,
a gentle curve,
and moisture.

Softly, at first, a quiet concentration,
a leisurely accumulation,
building on itself.
gathering power
in a scoop, a scour, a scarp.

A waiting wetness, there in the hollow,
slow seep,
building, building,
until
it spills.

And faster then,
repeatedly, inexorably,
down and down and down,
unstoppable, a solid wave
sweeping everything away.
8:48am: FOGcon
I'm an Honored Guest at FOGcon this coming weekend in Walnut Creek California, and this is my schedule:

Saturday
3 - 4:15 pm "Jo Walton's (In)Famous Character Workshop" in Salon A/B
8 - 9:15 pm "Domestic Fantasy: Transforming the Domestic" in Salon C

Sunday
10:30 am - 11:45 am "Honored Guest Readings" in Santa Rosa (with the other HGs)
1:30 - 2:45 pm "The First Annual Meeting of the FOGcon Draconic Appreciation Society" in Sacramento Room

I'll also be around all weekend and hope to have a chance to hang out with some of you there!

3rd March 2016

9:10am: Among Others in Korean
Among Others is now available in Korean, and here is the cover, which I like a lot -- this is one of the most accurate depictions of Mori, as described in the book. Actually, though, any cover that does not elide the cane is a win for me. And looking at it more, the background represents the way the magic works, which is a first. I like this cover a lot. Here's a link to it on my "all foreign AO covers" page.

1st March 2016

5:12pm: On the impending death of Morris Keesan
Death comes so fast, but also slow. Constrained
To die quite soon, a tumour, but for now,
Alive to see his friends, his home, somehow
Enjoying what he can, although still pained.

He saw his Michael Whelan print and said:
"I got to own that lovely thing, that art,
It makes me happy, has done from the start
And could you let him know that, when I'm dead?"

The art, the music, anagrams, the friends,
The cons, the conversations, all the days
Of building joy for everyone, that ends.

But memories live on, and all the ways
He made life better last. There's no amends
When we go to the dark, but something stays.

29th February 2016

4:05pm: Much too silly to count. No, really, this is nothing but nonsense...
Unpolished Polish, tangier Tangiers...
Mere bagatelles, and likewise the dear deers,
When with one letter shifting lets you tease
The antipopes of the Antipodes.

27th February 2016

5:28pm: Antiquity
This is in a mode called “columns” which, as it was described to me on a panel in SFContario, is written so that the left and right columns make sense alone, and the poem read as a whole (left to right) makes a different kind of sense. The lines in the middle go in both separate columns. It wasn’t hard to write, but it was hard to format — thanks to Mack Muldofsky for special help with that! The first column is the ancient world, the second column is the Renaissance rediscovery of it, and the whole thing is a whole thing, hopefully.

Naturally, once I heard it described, I wanted to try it...

Mack managed to get it from my Protext screenshot to Wordpress, so it's at the URL below, but I'm never going to be able to put it on here, you'll have to click through.

http://www.jowaltonbooks.com/poetry/whimsy/2024-2/

Again, encouraged to post things that are slightly harder to post by the enthusiastic backers of my Patreon! This has been sitting in Protext for a while, as I couldn't figure out any way to format it properly.

25th February 2016

12:55pm: Train poem
The stubble of the wheatfield
And the vast November sky
The tracery of branches bare
And I, and I, and I.

Life is so short and filled with things
And sorrow mixed with joy
The splendid that enrapture
The petty that annoy.

The clouds are grey, the fields are brown,
The distant hills are black
But light within and light without
Brings all the colour back.

Petrarch had poor mute Homer
He held but could not read
This train propels me onward
And I have all I need.

November 12th 2015

I wrote this in my notebook, with a pen, on the way to Chicago and Ohio in November, and I've been meaning to get around to typing it in and posting it ever since. I'd just read Petrarch's letter about not being able to read Homer, and the Adirondack (train 69) was heading south towards Schenectady. Posted now thanks to the awesome supporters of my new Patreon!

24th February 2016

5:13pm: Patreon!
I now have a Patreon for poetry.

This is what I've said on it:

I write science fiction and fantasy novels, and also poetry. I've been posting poetry for free on my livejournal since 2002. I just checked to make sure that was right, and indeed, the sixth thing I ever posted to LJ was the poem "Next Talking Fish, Five Hundred Miles"

I believe that speculative poetry is having a Golden Age right now, with so many people producing such wonderful stuff and showing it to each other. Many of these speculative poets have Patreons, because there isn't a whole lot of money to be made out of poetry, and I've decided to join them.

I don't intend to do anything different, I'm just setting this up so people who enjoy my poetry can directly contribute and let me know. I'm just adding this as an extra place -- the poems will still be posted on LJ, on my website, and here as well, with an email going out to contributors to tell them when there's a new poem. I'm pretty sure there has never been a month without at least one poem, and sometimes I get on a tear, so you might want to do a monthly amount, or set a limit, in case I do something like the Godzilla Sonnets and just keep going.

What I'm intending to do with the money is use it to support the other artists I already support on Patreon, and if it comes to more than that, probably add more. I love Patreon, I love the democratization of patronage. It's such a nifty thing, supporting creation.

I also have a long term goal of producing a really solid "Collected Poems" volume.

My novels are published by Tor in the US and Corsair in the UK and other publishers in translation in seventeen (unless I've lost count) countries. I am very happy with this and have no desire to change it and go into business for myself. My non-fiction essays are published on Tor.com, and have been collected by Tor, and probably will be again. I like traditional publishing, it does a lot of things for me that I would be terrible at doing for myself.

But poetry isn't commercially possible in the same kind of way, and I have dealt with that mostly by just giving it away online. If you want to support me continuing to do that, I really appreciate it.

23rd February 2016

9:03pm: Thud: Lent
Words: 1778
Total words: 15489
Files: 3
Music: No music actually
Tea: Florentina, and then elderflower and lemon
Reason for stopping: new beginning done

Decided it wasn't going to work if it wasn't possible to explain the concept, and therefore needed to write a new beginning, to go before the old beginning.

I think this is the most horrible thing I have ever done to a character. Though maybe there are a few things that compare.

13th February 2016

3:46pm: Recommendation wanted: Letters
I've recently finished both the letters of the Younger Pliny and the letters of Rilke and Andreas-Salome, both of which I highly recommend, and I find myself with a void that needs to be filled.

Please recommend to me volumes of letters -- ideally both sides of a correspondence, as with Browning and Barrett Browning, or Rilke and Andreas-Salome, but I'll take one side if that's what's going.

Limitations -- in English, and in print as an e-book -- the whole purpose of this is to have it on my Kindle to read between other things. In between reading whole things, I cycle through short stories and poems and letters and bits of epics and collections of bits, and I want more letters to fit into this cycle, not a physical book that I'd read all at once.

12th February 2016

2:06pm: Crooked Timber seminar
There has been a Crooked Timber seminar on my Thessaly books. The main post, with links to all the essays everyone wrote on it (some of them brilliant), can be found here, and there's also a link to my response post, a dialogue in which Socrates and Apollo disagree about spoilers, while Maia and Crocus also make their opinions known.

There are no spoilers for Necessity, but there are spoilers for The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.
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