Folks, my short story ‘Nie Among the Tree-people’ is out now in the September issue of Aurealis, complete with a delightful fire god illustration by animator Leah Clementson. As I’ve said before, I have a massive soft spot for this weird, queer tale of gods and hermits, which is also the first story I’ve written with a non-binary protagonist. I’m deeply happy to have it out in the world at last.
I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but I’m still here and today, for the first time in too many months, I actually sat down at my computer and wrote fiction. I still have a long road ahead, but it’s a start.
Recently a friend was telling me about how someone in his family – someone he by necessity has to live with – calls him lazy because he takes on too much and then doesn’t have the headspace to get it done. I told him, that sounds pretty toxic of them, and he responded, it’s understandable. It’s just me being a trash human.
“Lazy” is one of the biggest sticks that gets used to beat people who can’t achieve as much, or as regularly, as what’s considered “normal”. Other people use the “lazy” stick on us – and worse, we use it on ourselves.
It’s easy to think of ourselves as lazy, or useless, or trash humans, when we don’t live up to our own or others’ expectations of what we “should” be able to get done. Goodness knows I did, for many years.
I called myself lazy because my house is always a mess. Because there’s always another load of dishes waiting to be done. Because of the pile of clothes in limbo by the sewing machine, waiting eternally to be mended. Because even when I was doing a job I loved, many days I still had to drag myself, unwilling, out of bed and off to work.
It’s taken me many years to shed that way of thinking. But now I know: that’s not laziness.
As you may have gathered from my last update and from the lack of blog posts generally, the brain weasels have been biting hard.
Stepping down off Effexor has been a painful process. At the higher doses, it was mostly a case of waiting out the first week of adjustment: the dizzy head-spins, the oversleeping, getting motion sickness from something as minor as looking at my phone while walking. As I’ve hit the lower doses, though, I’ve started to experience effects that don’t go away as I adjust.
It’s been a bugger of a fortnight – two weeks ago I stepped down my Effexor dose another level (more on that in the next post), and just as I was regaining my equilibrium from that I got a thankfully mild case of flu.
But! I’m now on my way back up from the latter, and I have more exciting things to talk about today. I have WRITING NEWS. Two pieces of writing news, in fact!
I didn’t have work today, or any other prearranged commitments. It was one of those rare days when I could, in theory, get anything done that I needed to.
And that makes it the perfect day to explore one of the defining elements of ADHD: the interest-based nervous system, a.k.a. the reason why the things I actually did today bore almost no resemblance to the things I intended to do.
That means this story – which has previously appeared in the the Continuum conbook and the Remastered Words audio anthology – will now see the inside of a physical book cover. And what a fancy cover it will be!
Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy series of illustrated anthologies combine new and classic short fiction from a given subgenre. They look exceedingly classy, and the list of authors I will appear alongside is both long and impressive. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
While I would love to be getting new stories out there (and I’m working on it), ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ holds a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be happier that it has a new home.
Right – I made it through Continuum, and it’s time to bring back my regularly scheduled blog posts. I have a lot to talk about, but some pretty important life changes came up during the lead-up to Continuum that I didn’t have time to write about at the time, so for context I want to start with a basic round-up of Where I’m At Now.
As thrilled as I am to have Ellie and Benji’s story published, there’s one aspect of the situation that’s been making me sad: I could only find physical copies of Luna Station Quarterly, the all-female (and female-inclined) magazine that published Two Monsters Down in the Dark, for sale through Amazon.
Pre-orders are your friend – and your bookseller’s friend too
If you want to pick the book up at Continuum next month, I strongly urge you to visit the website and pre-order it online in the coming week. It’s risky for a small bookseller to stock a relatively unknown publication, and the more people they know want a copy, the more copies they can safely order in for the convention.
Over on Bookish Universe, you can buy a copy today for pick-up at Continuum (just select the “pick up” option at checkout). Or if you’re a bit strapped for cash right now, you can email Bookish Universe to register your interest in buying a copy next month at the con.
Either way, please let them know by next Sunday (26th May), so they have time to order it in before the convention.
Alternatively, if you’re not going to be at Continuum, you can just buy a copy online the old-fashioned way* and they’ll deliver it to you anywhere in the world.
*Good grief, did I really unironically type that?
And if you’re reading this in Australia today, hang in there.
Further to my last post on the subject of invisible tapirs, I had a fascinating conversation this week with a couple of allosexual friends who are always happy to talk tapirs with me. The subject: aesthetic attraction.
CW: brief discussion of sexual assault (under the text break)
One of the commonest questions I get around asexuality is, But what does it feel like?
What does it feel like to be asexual? What does it feel like to not experience sexual attraction to anyone at all?
Imagine living in a world where almost everyone hallucinates tapirs. Most of the time, this mass delusion doesn’t cause any problems – people know the tapirs aren’t really there and can usually just enjoy or ignore their visions without it causing problems, apart from the odd embarrassing mishap. So to an outside observer, everyone’s walking around day-to-day just as if they weren’t seeing phantom ungulates around them – only everyone knows that everyone else sees them too, right?
Now imagine you’re one of the 1% of people in that world who doesn’t see tapirs. In fact, you don’t even know what a tapir looks like.
You know there’s something other people experience that you don’t, but you have no real idea of what it is. The best you can do is make guesses based on the way people around you talk and act around the subject of tapirs – and tapirs just aren’t talked about all that much.
In fact, the subject of tapirs comes up so rarely that it’s easy to forget everyone else is seeing something you aren’t.