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It's been a while, largely because my computer and email have been facing a lot of technical issues and posting in two places at once was a step too far. Now that I'm facing even more technical issues and LJ is down, I want somewhere to quietly grump. I'll try to get back to regular posting here when things calm down a little (hopefully next week), but the big thing about today is that...it's a mess.

I had a lovely weather migraine last night. It took me until 2 am to sleep and it took 2 hot water bottles and 2 doonas to bring my body temperature up to normal (which is what finally allowed me to sleep). This happens. I just adjusted my alarm clock so that I would get an extra hour this mo9rning and reduced my list of 'to do' things for Friday.

You can guess where this is going, can't you? Since I'm grumpy? The migraine lingers, and my body temperature is falling (although it's now 36.3, which is at least in sight of normal). My next door neighbour woke me up at 7.30 with Zimbabwean pop (she was coming back from work and I don't have the heart to tell her that her music wakes me up as she drives in, for she has an impossible shift). I went back to sleep and then the postie woke me up. I gave up on sleep and thought "At least the work end of the house is quiet" and now my upstairs neighbour is apparently having some very noisy work done which necessitates much yelling and men being rude to each other about laziness.

None of this is serious. It's just annoying and tiring, on the morning I set aside for being kind to myself because it's going to be a big weekend and it was a huge week. It's peak teaching time and peak form-filling-in time and peak everything-else time and sleep was already becoming a bit of a rarity. I don't need roaring machines and shouting men outside my window as well. And I have run out of time to go back to sleep until it all goes away,: all I can do is puddle through the morning's work and drink copious amounts of weak coffee and take lots of Vitamin D and choose bigger pain relievers. Then it will be over and I will be laughing. Ha!

At any rate, I've already crossed 2 things off my must-do-before 11 list. And I've started a third thing that wasn't even on it...
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My first IWD day post is on LJ only, simply because it will make my life very complicated (in terms of prizegiving) if there are too many sets of discussion. You can find it here: http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1147598.html
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I have a problem with some novels. They don’t belong to any specific genre. I seem to encounter them on average, one a month. Some of them are written brilliantly and some are not and some would make rather good stabilisers for a wonky table. The only thing they share is a view of language. Other people’s language.

The authors just don’t seem to understand how languages other than English operate. Or how using those languages to represent speakers of those languages can be done without artificiality. Some don’t understand that French is not a matter of adding ‘Oui’ or Italian ‘Si’ at an almost-appropriate moment of their story – that it doesn’t actually give the flavour of a language if one spatters the text with perfectly translatable words. That there are other ways of indicating that every single person is speaking in French besides having someone nod sagely and say “Ah, oui, that will solve the crise. Let’s get down to it.”

That’s my first problem: that it would be rather nice if I weren’t dragged out of reading by trying to work out why someone is translating their own common speech into a foreign language. For if everyone is speaking French, then that ‘oui’ represents a foreign language. Proper names and terms that are uncommon and don’t have a solid English equivalent are quite different. Playing with syntax is fine (as long as it doesn’t go the “'Allo 'Allo" route), but every time a writer shoves in an everyday word or phrase, I’m shoved right out of the reading. That’s why I here, now, and not finishing my current book, in fact.

Then there is the problem of food. When is bread ‘pain’? Or rather, when is bread painful? When the word 'bread' would do just as well as the word 'pain' and yet the word 'pain' is used. When a foodstuff is quite specific to the time and place of the tale, that's a different matter. If the story is set in Paris (a place chosen at random largely because I miss it) then talking about the long artisanal bread baked by Mme Curie (with its lovely, crunchy radioactive coating) might be cause for a word in French ('pain lumineux'). If the bread is, however, baked by M. Paul Curie, Mme Curie's third cousin twice removed, the side of the family that came to France 4 generations ago, then 'bread' is less distracting. And yes, the Curie family in this paragraph serves the same function as pain in a novel - it distracts and has not much to do with anything and has the added bonus of being mostly invention. This is the precise effect that using 'pain' where 'bread' would suffice has on me. There are other ways of describing a long loaf with a polished outside that has to be ripped open with one’s teeth to get at the silk-fine white interior, and most of them are less annoying.

Then there is the problem of proof-reading and copy editing. The more exotic words and phrases that are written into a novel, the more likely there are to be typos. I collect these, so all my writing friends ought to be worried. I have a personal trophy chest. The phrase currently on display there is ‘magrat du canard’ which I have encountered in two different novels and ‘margrat’ in a third: none of these novels are by Terry Pratchett (hence the dedication). I think the moral of the story is to try not to use words and phrases we can’t actually error-check for ourselves.

One writer told me (when I was editing them) “No-one notices.” This is just to warn other writers with a similar view that some of us do notice. Not only do we notice, but we take note. Not only do we take note, but sometimes we wave the novel at students saying “Look!”

To avoid the trophy chest and the book-waving, all writers have to do is think about what languages they use and how, and to be very, very careful to avoid errors. That’s all. So why is it so difficult?



PS Please don’t tell me you use Google Translate for your languages-other-than-English and don’t check with a native speaker (or even a non-native speaker with advanced skills). I pasted my first paragraph into Google Translate and took it to Spanish, then Arabic then back to English, just to show how automated translation gets some things, but not others. This is the result:
TENGO United Nations problema con novelas algunas. Pertenecen género NINGUN. Algunos de ellos están escritos con brillantez YY OTROS algunos estabilizadores haría bastante bueno para una Mesa wonky. If UNICO QUE ES UNA comparten vision del lenguaje. Lenguaje de otras personas.

Then I fiddled with the translation route until it gave me something actually in English:
United Nations HAVE some problem with novels. ANY genre belong. Some of them are written brilliantly OTHER YY stabilizers do some pretty good for a wonky table. If ONLY THING THAT IS A shared vision of language. Language others.

PPS Now I want to use automatic translators for my whole text, just to see if I can produce Great Literature. Which becomes ‘Gran Literature’ using the same route on Google Translate that I used for my paragraph. Is there a genre that’s literature for grandmothers? There ought to be.
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My Women's History Month blog celebration will begin on 8 March (International Women's Day). Instead of having blogging every day for a month, I have a few special guests talking about a quite specific topic: women in fandom. After the first couple of posts, I will be very happy to put up posts by any woman who has experiences of fandom she'd like to share or analyses she'd like to make. If anyone wants to join in without writing a whole post, the comments are a wonderful place.

I need to say that the idea of this year's theme (which is not the national theme for either the US or Australia) comes from a discussion Kari Sperring and I had a while back.

So watch this space for Women's History Month. Also watch this space for a rant, for I read something in ire and I feel one forming. The rant has nothing to do with women's history and everything about how we choose what we choose for our fiction and certain concomitant responsibilities.
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This morning I am down to one box of papers. It didn't start well, though, and I want to do the beginning all over, and quite differently. I didn't want to step on a slug, for instance. For those who need to know, a bare foot on a squashed slug is an effective way to wake up.

It does, however, make me interpret the day from the wrong end. Instead of the papers almost sorted, I want to say "I still have most of the real work to go." Instead of saying "I have two emails to send and two works are finalised at my end, and hey, look at the kind comment the very, very senior editor made on the story that was rejected today (I write a vile story and the editor called it 'nicely done') I say "Oh no, I'm doing everything wrong!"

I think the moral of this story is never to step on slugs while you have a cold. For I am at the stage of the cold where it's descending into my chest and I really don't feel very well. And yes, I stepped on a slug.

If getting drunk helped me at all (it never does - I'm not that kind of drunk, it seems) I would have a drink. Instead all I can think of doing is sharing the pain. Who wants to know what it feels like to step on a slug?
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The disorder in my loungeroom is no longer delightful. I have just one drawful of recent papers to go and two boxes of past papers (for it's time to get rid of some old papers as well as time to do tax). If I'm very lucky, the end result will be a bit more space as well as all my tax done.

In the interim (between bouts of taxitis) I'm catching up with small bits of errandry. I've spoken to two different bits of the insurance company, for instance, and they were, as ever, helpful.

In other words, until about 6 pm, today is a day for dull officework, punctured by a Judy Garland movie and Madigan Mine, by Kirsten McDermott. I promised I'd read for the Ditmars today, but Madigan Mine was there and something interrupted my first reading of it and it's a good book and... it really fits the mood of taxes. Totally full of uncheer. It's one of those books that one reads with much appreciation and every now and again stops to say "Glad this is not my mind producing this novel." For all my works of fiction are bright and cheerful and untwisted and full of fluffy bunnies and yellow daisies and spring meadows. Or they have recipes or footnotes or bad jokes. They don't start with death and get darker.

And this reminds me why I didn't finish it the first time. It came out when I was on death's door. The year after my stepfather died. It's not good reading for anyone in mourning and on death's door unless their sense of the joy of the morbid is particularly acute. It's good reading now, however, and a nice reminder that there is death as well as taxes. I'm not sure where old musicals fit in all this. I might make myself a pot of coffee and think about it.
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The highlight of my morning was being introduced to an arquebus, firing it, and ruining a favourite (but bedraggled) shirt. I will be forced to be more respectable this winter. Understanding the smell and feel of the early gun was worth it, however. I might wear my very-slightly-ashen shirt around the house, for it's very comfortable and its scars were well-earned.

The highlight of my afternoon was making inroads into my tax. I've now sorted 1/3 of my papers and my loungeroom looks delightfully disordered.

The highlight of the early evening was long talks with friends. This was also a highlight of this morning, since I went to the gun range (it was open day) thanks to the kindness of friends.

The highlight of slightly later evening was the duck being cooked. I invented a stuffing for it. The duck was delectable with the stuffing, but the stuffing was ... drabbit, why didn't I write down proportions? I made it up as I went along, and it turned out to be fruity and tart and just amazing.

I tipped some quinoa into a bowl. I added about the same amount of water. I chopped up an onion finely and added that. Then I topped it with a nice slurp of pomegranate molasses. I zapped it in the microwave (which was behaving today) a few times (a minute each time) until most of the moisture was absorbed. I might have added a knob of butter (but don't tell my mother, for that would be so wrong). Then I stuffed my duck with it. The stuffing doesn't cohere (for there's nothing in it to make it stick) but I kinda forgot to carve the duck once I had a taste of the stuffing., An hour later I actually ate a piece of duck and found that the scent of the pomegranate is faintly through the whole and it is just... I am going to stop here, for the duck and the rest of the stuffing is the the fridge, for eating during the week and it is STAYING THERE (at least until tomorrow night). I am not allowed supper! But, really, that's the best stuffing I've ever invented. I have no idea if I'll ever be able to duplicate it.

Obviously the highlight of my later evening is the memory of finally getting back my cooking mojo.
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Yesterday was a bit of a long day. I was only teaching for a normal teaching day (6 hours, minutes breaks - I asked the students how long they wanted for lunch, and they nominated 35 minutes), but it was on top of a migraine the day before and actually with - it turned out - the last dregs of that migraine. Thanks to a really good bunch of writers, who paid great attention and asked many questions, it was a good experience, even when my memory developed daft holes (which was three times, for I was counting). One of those teaching sessions that was very intensive, but rewarding. One student needed a different class to the others, and I feel I short-changed her a bit, but everyone else pretty much got what they needed from the class.

This is the last time I'll be teaching grammar or punctuation in a workshop fashion this year, it appears, so I'm glad it went well. I do wish it could have gone perfectly. What would I have done differently? Spent 20 minutes (which we didn't have, really) explaining 'that' and 'which' and conjunctions and other ways of connecting words. I mentioned and gave examples, but I didn't actually give the student who needed them exercises, so she knows the theory but hasn't solved it for her own writing. This is the only thing I wish I had more time for, but it's an important one.

In a few minutes I have an excursion! Not a long one, but I will be outdoors. Outdoors. There are no more bushfires. I would very much like all the events I missed over the last three months (Donna's launch, for instance) to be re-held purely for me.

It still hurts to walk so I'm not over the effects of the smoke yet, but normalcy is returning, and I walk slowly regardless, for I reached the point where I had to admit that spending every day at home was simply not going to happen. Alongside the pain, my lower extremities have regained their normal size and I can carry more groceries etc before that pain kicks in too badly, so I have good hopes that my caution this fire season will be repaid in a quick recovery. The thing I was trying to avoid was the hospitalisation and so forth that occurred ten years ago. It took a while for the full effect of the fires to manifest in my body last time, but from the waist down I became one of those enormous women in a John Wyndham short story and I could draw three dimensional sketches on my own legs. Cortisone cured it and caused other problems and I've just reached an end of all that and am determined not to let therecent plague of summer fire start the cycle again.

If this morning goes well, I'll wander down to the Trash and Treasure next week. If it doesn't, I'll give it a few weeks more.

Still, life is looking up. And I woke up earlier than I meant to and can get a half hour work done before I have to make a move. I'd better stop being lazy!
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I'm blogging earlier than usual because I want to draw a line under my morning. I've got one of those internal self-castigation things going (which can reflect pain, or can reflect memories that came up during my sleep) and it was validated by the tone and nature of an email. What this means is that I'm in self-punishing-Cinderella mode, and the best way to cure it is to start the day again. I can't change the physical self, but I can change the rest, including what day it is. So all the negatives now happened very, very, very late on Thursday and today is simply the day after.

I was going to run messages and go to the movies today, for the bushfires are finally out and I want to celebrate, but I think I finish my teaching prep for tomorrow, make more inroads on my tax, and finish small things. I can do the shopping on the way home from teaching, and everything else can wait.



ETA: One of the causes of this being a worm-eating day is something I just discovered by going outside (yes, I keep sneaking outside, now that I can). We're getting the big shift of weather patterns from summer to autumn. Today. On 1 March. How did the seasons know that we declare autumn to begin today?
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Those of you who've done my history and world-building courses may have noticed me talking about how our cultural inwardness and ethnocentricities place unintended curbs on our story-telling. Here's another approach (not done for writers, but for rather more basic research reasons), using anthropology and psychology: http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/#.US6kCBaVnHt.twitter

The bottom line is that not all stories are about us, or should be about us. The bottom line for this research (if one extrapolates for writers) is that US story models (which are very popular in genre writing) represent something very interesting indeed, but not as representative of wider humanity as many believe. There are more ways of telling stories out there than we think, and more choices characters can make.

What's really interesting is that the psychology of this research seems to suggest that we create our own societies (they were specifically talking about economies) from material familiar to many spec fic writers.

Some of you know (hopefully very few) that my initial research interest (many, many years ago) was how speakers of the vernacular wrote about history and the past ie how they structured their worldview using their literature and how that fed into itself and created a strong sense of self in time. I was influenced by ethnohistory in my approach, for Greg Dening taught me in Honours year, and his is the sort of teaching that never gets shaken off. The article didn't surprise me, then, for these researchers and I had some overlap in how we approached the study of humanity. I love it that a complex, porous place where disciplines are merging is developing and, with the merge, our understanding of humanity blossoms.

What I love particularly, is that fiction writers have the power to read and learn from the scholars working in this complex, porous place and take the blossoming and bring the new understanding into the community, with interpretations of the different ways of seeing and doing and thinking that present books and characters that move us from the US end of interpretable existence* into wider fields. More blossoms can bloom, for the understanding will spread.

There's been lots of talk of how science fits into speculative fiction, but this type of study is just as important for any genre that claims "We're the one that asks 'What if?"



*Please, do this! The finding that so much of our understanding of humanity is based on studies of US undergrads, frankly, terrified me. What worried me, additionally, was that I wasn't at all surprised. Credible sources and their cost both count in some disciplines.

ETA: Sorry - the first paragraph faded mysteriously, but I've put it back. My TV is currently doing the same. It's all very odd.
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It's funny how many holes one's mind has. Mine has more than most, I suspect. I had a whisper of a story out last year. It was so short that if you breathe then it's over, but it most certainly did appear, albeit only in the context of Conflux and CSFG.

This morning I sacrificed six vials of blood to the Deity of Testing, to see if this pain can be sorted, to find out if the fact that I am middle-aged can be sorted, to see if I'm diabetic (except that was another vial and it was a different shape and did not contain blood) and to work out other things. I don't know what the other things are, for the vast list of hormonal material being tested piqued my amusement. Also my interest. Why was I tested for any of this when perimenopause first manifested, a decade ago?

Since I came back from the testing-place (which is just four doors from my doctor - and by 'four doors' I mean doorways within a building) I have pottered much and frittered away time, for what I'm doing today is tax and I hurt. It's the weather and the PMT and the fact that it's acid-in-the-veins-day (this month I have a 60 hour day, I think) and the sad fact that I have no deadlines to force me to do things. The only one I had today (for my teaching on Saturday) I have met. This means that it's 2.30 pm, and I've only done 3 hours work. But I've done a remarkable job of feeling sorry for myself.

Half the problem is the weather. It's in a constant state of significant change. It will settle later today, or I shall have words with it.

Nothing's actually wrong at my end of things. I just hurt. And obviously, if I can't remember my own publications, I'm not going to drown my sorrows in something workishly interesting. I potter around with my taxes (which will take a long while at this rate), and I restore bits of my place to its pre-fixing-up normalcy, and I prepare a bit of dinner here and a bit there (for I have friends dropping in), and I wash dishes, and I do email or teaching prep (Saturday's is a workshop that has fairly intensive prep for me, so all I've done is the first segment, but that includes the handouts, so I'm 1/3 through) and I do more bits and pieces.

It's not even a wasted day. It just feels like it, for I can't tick things off my list. Maybe it would help if I did a list for March. The only item unfinished on my February list is taxes. This would be why I had planned to spend today breaking the back of them.

Coffee, that is my answer. And a wall-list for March. And just keep on starting and stopping until the first part of the job is done. To music. I shall give myself three hours for these things.
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I was only going to post once today, but several things need to be told.

First, CSFG members (including me) are creating a list of Ditmar-eligible work. We're not pushing people to nominate us in particular (as a group, we're not, each member makes their own decision on this and my decision was to write what you read here), but to read widely and make their own decisions. To make it easier to to read our work and make up your own minds, there is a list of CSFG work: http://csfg.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/csfg-members-eligible-works-for-the-ditmar-awards/

I didn't publish any fiction last year! Well, I did, but it was all reprints. I sit back, astonished. And the CSFG list (and the Ditmar wiki) don't contain complete lists of everything I wrote, just the stuff I wouldn't mind people remembering. The piece I care most about is the one on robust criticism, for I still think that we need it and I thought my examples were cute. Although there are a couple of BiblioBuffet essays I rather like, too.

And now for the cool stuff. My students have uber-super-powers. I'd forgotten that homework last week was to write convincing narratives. The success of their narratives was going to be measured by how much it rained (we wanted to drown bushfires). One claimed he failed, because the rain didn't fall exactly on the instructed straight line. Overall, though, we decided that this homework was an immense success. The measure of their success: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?CAT_ID=683

There is a price for godlike powers, however, and the price was that none of us got a decent night's sleep last night.
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I've finally caught up on quite a few of the things that got caught up in other things. I'll have another wave of promises to keep, but they don't start until 1 March. At least, I hope they don't. I have just a little pile of notes to myself, and they're all about today's tasks, but I haven't been through my scary pile of paper yet. Why do I keep a scary pile of paper? I think it might be... no, I don't know why. Anyhow, my tasks for the day are:
1) to check the scary pile of paper
2) to entirely get rid of that small pile of notes
3) to teach
4) to work on much medievalness (I get to learn about glass!)
5)to start my taxes.

Taxes are the most important undone task this week, for I sorely need finances (again). I have some unexpected expenses. Also, I have the world's nicest accountant (we met because our shared interests in history and books) and I don't want to cause her extra work.

I don't know if I'll get a refund this time round, but I really, really hope I do. I'm at a transition stage of my life, and I can't tell myself "Leave this until I have money." Transition stages of life are more expensive than other stages.

In other news, the engineer is back from holiday today. This means the block of flats will soon be checked for structural stuff. This is not a bad thing.

Also in other news, the weather here is fine compared with cyclone in WA and roaring winds across Texas, but for myself and weather-sensitive friends, it's not good. Muggy and warm and storms around every corner. I had a bad night, and I have one friend who may well have had worse (for it's her boys who are weather-sensitive, and feel the storms coming). I'm the lucky one, for after teaching is over, I can rearrange all my messages to tomorrow and come home and sleep it off before doing the rest of my day's work. The rather large sleep deficit one gets in weather like this is tolerable when one can sleep it off. Also when the work one faces before one sleeps it off is the best class in the world.

Today I plan to cast words among them like corn. Also, just because I feel like it and it's a fun way to approach story structure, we will write a group beginning and a group and and then each student will write their own middle. We've been getting caught a bit on tale length recently - it's time to re-prove to all of them (not just the incipient novelists) that they can write more than ten lines.

And in more other news...if you hear of someone getting arrested for creating a public disturbance, it was me. I am guilty. I fully intend to walk to the bus stop shortly singing "It's raining, it's pouring" at the top of my voice. This is because it is. I shall not let the fact that I cannot sing deter me.



PS My old computer got in one last whatever. I found two paragraphs mucked up in an article. Also some punctuation which I'd fixed. Anyway, I'm nearly at an end of these things being possible, for much of the work spawned on the old computer is where it needs to be. Only three more pieces have the opportunity to be so very wayward. I'll be very glad when it starts happening that the piece I proofed and checked is the piece that arrives on editors' desks. (And this has been happening a lot more often than I've reported her e- mostly I just frown, fix and move on.)
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I've done lots and lots today, but skipped one big block of stuff. I can do that one big block now, or quite late this evening. I suspect quite late this evening, because storms are nigh. Once the weather change finally happens, I shall be less ditsy. I've had one long meeting today and it was a very good long meeting, which left much hope and grand possibility in its wake. In the nearby part of its wake, it also left much commonsense, which I shall proceed to apply to an object that sorely needs it.

What I shall do in the interim is make a start on the big block of work that I meant to do before today went awry (there are not many bushfires left, but those that were there, were in the west and the wind blew from there ) and turn it into several little blocks, containable, controllable and able to be finished.

Other news? There's heaps but, as has often been the case recently, I don't want to talk about it lest I jinx it. None of this news relates to employment, but there were actually new jobs advertised this weekend. Not many, and the one that most fitted my research profile was more senior than I'm likely to get, but if jobs are being advertised again then one day I might be fofered one, which is what I'm after.
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I just did my annual check for the Ditmars. I'm suggesting to people left right and centre that they nominate their favourite works and make sure they're seen, but my reading is a bit behind, so my own nominations will be at the last minute. I have read 66 of the novels, and intend to read as many more as I can fit in. Obviously I'm going to go for easily available fiction (I have 3 books waiting for my at the library, for instance) because I have neither time time nor the resources to go a-hunting.

There were so many novels published last year that anyone who reads them all deserves some sort of prize, but if I can read 75 of them, I will be happy. The question is not how quickly I read, but how quickly I can obtain the books.

To keep myself honest (ie to make sure I keep reading) I shall blog the books here. I wont' promise reviews - that will depend on my mood or how much time I have, but I will make a mention of each book I finish as I finish it.

Does anyone in Canberra want to do a round of book-swapping, later in the week?
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For the Story of Purim, Recited Precisely and Accurately. Now with Footnotes, Songs, and Much Mirth, wander to: http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1143481.html

It is in need of more acronyms, I fear. It's also in great and urgent need of higher quality jokes. The footnotes make up for these deficiencies, however.
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I have slept and slept and slept and slept. Turns out this is what happens when the pain goes from screaming-size to "ouch, that hurts." I keep discovering how much pain I was in and being astonished. For instance, I have pain circles under my eyes still and my muscles are still stiff enough so that I can't turn my head. Whenever I lie down, I can feel the hurt that belongs with this. I think "I need to take pain killers." But I"m too tired and besides, it's not so acute I can't lie down anymore, so instead, I sleep.

I didn't realise I had reached a level of pain that meant I was actually obliterating the pain. I also didn't realise that I had learned how to tolerate quite bad pain all the rest of the time, simply because those three days a month were impossible. All I knew was that I was grumpy and couldn't see straight and couldn't think straight.

If I hadn't been driven out of my place by the chemical sensitivities, I possibly would not have been to the doctor yet. I knew I had to go, but doing anything that took me away from my desk was tough. It's still tough, which means I'm not where I need to be yet. But I will be. On Monday I will get the bloodwork done, for instance.

The amusing side of this is my astonishment. I came online just now and thought "I guess that's why I've been a bit less productive than I want to be."

Speaking of productivity, the details have been released of the volume that contains my Lanagan essay: http://salempress.com/Store/samples/critical_insights/speculative_fiction.htm

This is one of the things that's been bubbling away for months. Soon I hope to have news of the others. And now that the pain's subsiding, I can maybe make more progress on my writers and their history book. More and more I see a need for that book to be out there. The lack of progress at my end, though, means that I haven't sent off the proposal I meant to, three weeks ago. I've put in more work on it, but shaping the work into two sample chapters required a brain that was just that much clearer. So it has progressed, but not enough and not in quite the right direction.

It's an interesting balancing act, this book. I want writers to be able to use it, but I also want to use all the wonderful ground-breaking stuff I've been researching and to situate fictional historical writing in contexts that are not normally considered.

I nearly dumped my research and wrote it as a manual, which would be much easier, but which would leave the field without the stuff I feel is missing from it. By doing my balancing act I get to talk about historiography and historical method and to talk about writing techniques and the needs of readers and about the cultural contexts of genre. So many writers take their history seriously and yet are sent to high school level background texts for theory. And so much of the understanding of the relationship between history and fiction rests on how writers go about their job. The needs are meshed. It's quite tough to write because meshed needs don't always mean meshed approaches, but it's going to be a useful book, I think.

I need to get past this pain, do all the essentials for the weekend, maybe watch more Fringe, and then get to work on those two draft chapters.
gillpolack: (Default)
Good things emerge from difficult days. The bathroom and laundry are fixed. The doctor has given me medicine and the immediate awfulness of my three days every three weeks has significantly diminished. There are consequences with me putting up with the pain for so long, though and I have tests and received a scolding.

I was scolded about my eating habits (without being questioned about them first). They aren't to blame, but this is a ritual every doctor goes through before they discover that the combination of hormonal disorders and allergies means that I can diet and actually put on weight. I totally hate it that the idea that women are wrong and overeat is so ingrained in our minds that even when a doctor knows that the woman she is speaking to is perimenopausal, has PCOS, does exercise and has been watching her food intake carefully, that diet is still the first thing to blame.

None of the health side makes much sense yet. I'm too tired to make it make sense. The big thing is that within an hour of the anti-spasmodic kicking in, I was asleep (I have half-done work I mus retrieve!) and I'm still not quite awake. When I'm awake I'll sort out the mystery of putting on so much weight while not putting on any size. I suspect it's mainly due to the muscle stuff, in which case, it will all improve in the next week. I'll find all this out, though, over the next week and after the blood tests.

I'm taking the next few hours off. All sorts of things that I planned for tonight have fallen through, and I shall take this as life's commandment that I need to watch Season 3 of Fringe.
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I'm becoming almost intelligent, I think. I had about 3 hours of things to do outside the home today, but I woke up with pain (thunderstorms quite late yesterday are the main cause) and there are more bushfires around today and I thought "Can they wait a day?" They can and so my messages are now all happening tomorrow. This makes it easier to work around the pain and get all the work done I need to do (for this week everything seems to have deadlines attached). It also means I can work to diminish the pain (even though we're due more storms today) and not have to live with it for longer than I have to.

The big thing that moving a few items to tomorrow gives me is a sense of accomplishment, however. I said I was gaining in intelligence, you note, not actually becoming intelligence. Five items are crossed off my to do list and I feel accomplished, but really, they're still to-be-done.

The good thing is that only five of my remaining items are hefty. I should be able to get everything I need to get done actually finished today.

For my next trick, I shall make my fourth phonecall*.



*I ought to admit that I've crossed four more things off the list simply because they're finished...
gillpolack: (Default)
After all my fuss about my teaching notes, I left them behind. We worked on creative narratives demonstrating bias* (since the class watched Richard III in my absence) and on how these narratives help create the memory of a thing or person. We also learned how to summarise complex issues in pithy poems (our source material for this were current issues emerging from the Papal crisis, but also from the Great Schism). Word of the day came from a student who wanted to demonstrate how place names manifest in botany.

My Wednesday class used my forgetfulness to rise to great heights, in other words.




*since we'd already written about Richard, they created an evil teacher and a normal teacher and worked out how their poems played on expectations and developed material for the written record. I so hope that I am not known only by the bad teacher version. They were great poems, but they gave an entirely new set of meanings to 'evil.'
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