Guess who's an Associate Member of the SFWA as of about 4:00 o'clock this afternoon? (And a big "Thank You" to Mr. Steve Jackson, who made it possible.)
It has now been fifteen years since Clueless Tom was five minutes late to his own death. That which is remembered, lives. (Card: "Final Voyage" poem.)
Path of the Madness:
I didn't expect the SFWA membership to make me crazy (-ier). I should have, but I didn't. It was something I wanted, hoped for, and had stopped expecting. And now that I have it, I can't shake the feeling that I sneaked in through the back door. I also can't shake the feeling that, in a well-ordered universe, I should have been invited in the front door. This means that I am simultaneously suffering from Imposter Syndrome AND feeling unappreciated, and much of my mind wishes I would decide on just ONE thing to be crazy over.
A few details: There are three distinct tiers of SFWA membership: Affiliate (cash, plus a referral from an existing member), Associate (sell a short story to a Real Publisher), and Active (sell a book to a Real Publisher (or, alternatively, sell a PILE of self published books)).
So... "Fiddler's Rose", which is both my personal masterpiece and Magnum Opus (probably), gets me nothing, while "Laggy's Last Game", which was a toss-off (I like it, it's a good story, but it was only two days from conception to completion), gets me an Associate membership.
As far as the SFWA is concerned, I'm not a novelist who has been studying the craft for more than 40 years, I'm just a guy who has sold ONE story. And that hurts. On the other hand, I am IN the ballroom, and the buffet table looks pretty good...
So, first vaccination today. 12:45 appointment, showed up at 12:30, waited in line until 1:45, got stuck at 2:00, was cleared to leave at 2:30. Only got out of my car to take off my sweater and (during the 30 minute cooldown) hike across country to use the bathroom. They had a case load of 1500 today, and were processing (I think) 36 at a time in the Lake County Fairground pavilion. It's an interesting operation. It would have been nice to know the details above before I left home, though.
Also, was responsible for the waste of a dose when the first needle bent against my skin. Oops.
Vernal Equinox, and also Ostara; time for the fourth of my "Celtic Holiday" poems. ("Equinox" card.)
I usually read my longer pieces to Dementia before I post them, both because I want her opintion and because it's a good way to find textual flaws (I read "Fiddler's Rose" to her on a chapter by chapter basis while I was writing it). The other day, after hearing my post about my ambivalence regarding SFWA membership, now that I had it, she commented on how alien the whole process of posting such things was to her. This opens the topic of, "Why?"
I'm trying to break myself of the desire to change other people's minds about anything; the effort never accomplishes anything except making me grind my teeth. But I still post a lot of other things...
First, probably, I am keeping my tools sharp. I may not have much ability to make up stories, but I can describe the one I am actually living to the best of my ability, in the name of being ready when an actual new idea comes along.
Second, I am documenting my life for my own sake. I don't HAVE to do that in public, but, the world being what it is, Why NOT? I have pretty good reason to believe that at least a few people find my meanderings entertaining.
Third, I am convinced that pain shared is pain reduced. Talking about the stuff that goes wrong, and occasionally bleeding into the keyboard, helps me keep taking the next step. And, once again, I have good reason to believe that at least a few people find watching me struggle through that next step makes it just a little bit easier for them to make their next step, too.
I get all sorts of flak when I say this kind of thing, so here is what the fair-minded but decidedly liberal gentlemen at electoral-vote.com had to say about gun control this very day:
We've often observed that most Republican politicians don't really want abortion outlawed, because abortion is a powerful wedge issue for the Republican Party. Well, we also suspect that most Democratic politicians, even those from anti-gun states, don't really want gun-control legislation, because gun control is a powerful wedge issue...for the Republican Party. That is to say, many Democratic voters say they want gun control, but they don't make that a priority when voting. On the other hand, there are vast numbers of Republicans (including many infrequent Republican voters) for whom guns are issues #1, #2, and #3. If the Democrats were to somehow pass a gun-control bill, Republican politicians and pundits across the land would wield that like a cudgel. "See? We told you the bleeding-heart, socialist, communist, hippie, anti-American Democrats were coming for your guns!" they will say. The next election would be brutal for the blue team.
In short, the risk/reward calculus simply does not add up for the Democratic Party. Further, even if the Party's elected officials were willing to take a bold risk—not unlike Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law—there is another major impediment: The Supreme Court, which is currently very gun-friendly. The moment that any gun-control legislation was passed, two dozen Republican state attorneys general would sue, the case would quickly reach SCOTUS, and SCOTUS would likely strike the new law down. Politicians are not known for their willingness to sacrifice their careers for the greater good, but even if a bunch of Democrats were up for that, it's hard to justify for a law that's not likely to make it even to the next presidential administration.
A friend of mine, someone with whom I shared a love of small boats, and a minor obsession with the "Hero Wars" game (and, by the way, whose politics I HATED), was named Moose of Year by his local lodge on March 4. On March 5, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was 50 years old. He died doing something he REALLY loved, but... WAY too soon.
Open roads, Aaron. Fair winds, calm seas, and friendly fires, but most of all, open roads.
Our Hero Wars guild is doing this as a tribute to "Sting", which was Aaron's name in the game. His teams will be our entire entry in a competition on Saturday. (Image of "sole defender" set up.)
Clueless Tom would have been 66 today. Here's what I said about the adventure in the photos when it happened:
So after I made that post about it being Tom's birthday, I got to thinking that GaryCon was still going on, and how much he would have loved it... I cobbled together a badge that would help explain Clueless Tom the Memorial Bear, found him a hat (because he MUST have a hat), and hit the road. Comments on the individual photos will follow in due course. I will have to get a photo of Tommy with Ernie G. in his lair to round out the set, sometime.
GaryCon has been virtual for the last two years, and has moved into a larger (and for me, less friendly) hotel. But still a good time, in any case.
Foolishness. Accurate foolishness, but foolishness nonetheless. ("Gregarious Introvert" meme.)
This was on electoral-vote.com this morning. Coca-Cola is hardly a paragon of corporate rectitude, but there are times when I am stupidly proud of the purveyors of my personal addiction...
When white Atlantans refused to buy tickets for a banquet honoring newly minted Nobel laureate Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964, then-president of Coca-Cola J. Paul Austin called a meeting with Atlanta's business leaders in which he declared: "It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta. You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co." The banquet sold out within two hours.
(The bottle in the photo was made in 1962, and was in general circulation until at least 1987.)
A story has happened. Tell me what you think. It contains a character that many of you will recognize... (Link to Grex and the Turtle story.)
Life in my household:
The day's news was being discussed. Hyena shook his head and said, "I think I need to quote Ellen Ripley." Dementia just laughed.