Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

My life in 8 words: Organized chaos, by preference. Exhausting, but never boring

Entries by tag: life lessons

[sticky post]Laura Anne's Almost Inevitably Incomplete* Bibliography!
casual photo
Welcome! This entry is for newcomers wondering 'who is this Gilman person, anyway,' and a reminder to the old hands about what's forthcoming and already-written.

It's getting...rather long.  0-0
UPDATED 12/26/14 Collapse )

watching without a claiming horse in the race
stop that
The one thing I will say about the Hugo kerfuffle is that it's becoming glaringly obvious who in our field is an asshole without couth or manners, and who is a decent human being with social skills.

And that there are a sampling of both all along the political-opinion spectrum (although more of the really uncouth behavior documented seems to come from the far right, which is why they also come across as being the most scared).

things I've learned
Ported over from Tumblr.


People are always desperate to give what they wish others would give them.

The worst suffering anyone can experience is suffering alone.

Hoard as many good memories and experiences as you can. Be wealthy in laughter and smiles. It’s currency for when shit happens.

Emotions aren’t problems. They can’t be fixed, they simply exist. It’s like trying to cut water with a knife.

Emotions are symptoms of your experiences, in the same way swearing hysterically is when you stub your toe.

Emotions are like water. It can be carried. It can be drunk to nourish you. It can clean you. It can also drown you. Water is a force of nature and there is an ocean inside you.

The people around you are reflections of who you are. The people around you are the people you think you deserve.

Money makes things a business contract. Always honor your contracts, but be careful not to sell your heart. If you do, though, it’s all right. Hearts grow back. It just can take a while, like trees.

If anyone gets offended because you’re having a hard time, don’t talk to them until they apologize. You may get your apology or you may never talk to them again. Either one is a victory.

Falling outs, divorces, or breaks between people are growing pains. People learn with each other. When people stop interacting with each other, there is nothing left to learn.

Sympathy for the dead doesn’t exist. They are dead. The sympathy is for the living that has to deal with the dead.

Compassion is a strength, no matter what everyone says. It’s fucking difficult to care, especially when people shame you for it. That’s exactly why you’re stronger for it, because they’re too scared of being hurt.

You’re never the same person tomorrow as you are today.

If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re thirsty, drink. It’s amazing how often people need to be told this.

Talking 'bout GISHWHES...
Or, as people with good breath control call it, "The Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen." We just finished up this year's weeklong homage to creativity, joie de vivre, and teamwork, and I blogged about it for Book View Cafe.

Breaking the Comfort Zone, and GISHWHES

Remembering What it's All About

Not Only Refilling the Well, but Digging a New One Entirely...

Go, read.  Contemplate.  Comment.  Especially if you participated - I'd love to hear from my fellow 'hunters'!

Meanwhile, my teammates also blogged...

"We saved Scrappy!"

Tales of Survival (or: GISHWHES is over)

And if you'd like to see some of our finished Items, they're going up (slowly, because Work) on our tumblr

You laugh because there's nothing else you can do
the general warned me...
So, L.A. Kornetsky now has a FOURTH editor, to go with the fourth book in the series...

At this point I'm more laughing than anything else, because what else CAN I do?  

in which I find I'm still annoyed...
I"m griping about behavior, social responsibility and an actual event in particular. Feel free to skip if you"re only here for the cat photos and book updates.Collapse )

Why representation is important - and not just for those represented
citron presse
As a pre-teen (mid-1970’s), I read an SF story that had two characters, a man and a woman, in post-coital discussion. And one of the things that was mentioned in passing was the fact that, “back when,” it hadn’t been acceptable for people of the same gender to have sex. And good lord, how awful for those on single-gender missions!

It was, even at the time, a kind of heavy-handed social interjection, although not (if I recall correctly) out of character or out of place for the scene. But the point is, as a young child I came across a passing mention of homosexuality being socially acceptable. So I - casually, without drama - accepted it, too.

That’s how we shape the future. By showing it what it needs to look like.

Not every representation will be note-perfect. Not every representation will be all-inclusive. And no matter how well it's done, there will still be negative comments. This is true about every creative endeavor. But the fact that it's important means we should expect and do more, not less.

From everyone.

On conventions, creepers, and making it official
stop that
This past week, news broke in the SF community that there had been yet another complaint about sexual harassment lodged against a well-known editor. This editor had been censured previously, back in 2010, but it turned out that none of the complaints had been "officially" registered.

That has now changed. And the fact that previous complaints were swept under the table by HR (because nothing "officially" had been done) has ignited a new push to teach people HOW to file a complaint so that it WILL be heard.

Sadly, the news didn't surprise me - or, probably, anyone who has ever worked in a power imbalance industry (read: pretty much everywhere).  There will always be people who try to take advantage of that.  But it's far wider a problem, affecting those outside the author/editor corridor.  DAW author Kari Sperring has reprinted her essay from 2010, "What Safety Means to Me" about her experiences at conventions, and she's speaking for a lot of us.

And if you're still thinking "oh, but...."  then you need to read this:  "But He Didn't Know He Was Hijacking your Ship: On Conference Creeps", from Maria Dahvana Headley.

Every convention, ever since I was fourteen, there's been at least one guy who gets up in my personal space, gets handsy, thinking that he's being charming, or seductive, or just plain entitled to me.

I get less of the harassment than is described by others (although I still get more than should exist, period, like the individual who started telling everyone that we were a couple. That was...creepy as fuck). I've always assumed that this was because I started out professionally as an editor, which protected me somewhat - I was higher in the food chain than a twenty-something writer would normally be** and that has carried through to now.

Or maybe, like so many others, I've just excused it as "another offensive male who doesn't have a clue how to behave in society" and ignored it, because we're trained to be nice.

Screw nice.   I have a responsibility to the rest of my community, to not excuse it.  To not allow it.  If you're out in public, there are expectations as to your behavior.  Going forward, if someone behaves like a creeper, I'm calling them out as a creeper. Your physical existence entitles you to nothing other than your own existence.  Do not presume.***

*Although the one time someone tried to give me an unexpected, unasked-for, "friendly" back rub, I almost broke their nose, purely by reflex.
**I got a different kind of harassment, with a number of writers thinking that the way to a book contract was down my pants.  I got very cynical very early, because of that.
*** when in doubt, walk up to a woman and say "hi, my name is X, you look interesting, can I buy you a drink and talk to you for a while?"  That is how you flirt in the real world, not by laying hands or leering.  And the direct polite approach often works.  Really.

Originally published at Writer. Editor. Tired Person.

Zen and the active world
citron presse
Still thinking this morning about discussions last night. We're praised in most cultures for energy, for involvement, for taking an interest (intellectual and emotional) in things, and yet for so many of us that involvement often ends up paralyzing rather than freeing us, the poison of Too Much thickening in our veins.

And yet, to "let go" of all that means a certain and significant abandonment of responsibilities and self-determination - letting others determine the shape of your life and your world.  That's a hard thing to do and I'm not sure it's a good thing, either.  The world is an active place. I'm a part of this world, I choose to engage with it, as a citizen, as an artist, as a social creature. I'm not ready or able to accept the Four Noble Truths of Zen Buddhism just yet, because discontent leads to positive change as well as suffering, and desire can be beautiful and enabling... pain is not always bad.  But yes, I see the wear that engagement leaves on our minds, our hearts, our souls.

Can we be passionate about life, actively engaged in our world, and still disengage from the things/emotions/thoughts that bind us? How to remain involved, but not be overwhelmed/owned? Still working on that.

There may need to be a longer post with meanderings on this, eventually...

(and, not coincidentally, I'm seeing these themes in much of what I'm writing these days.  The self-aware writer cannot hide from herself.  This is yet another reason why we drink.)

Boston, and New York. And Oklahoma City. And everywhere. Everywhere.
dandelion break
This afternoon has been a bit...shaky. As most of you know, 9/11 did a number on me, emotionally, and it took years to even acknowledge it (why I will never say "you need to move on" or "you need to get over it" to anyone about anything, because So. Fucking. Not. Helpful.) So yeah, a bombing in Boston, the city where so many of my family lives/works? Even knowing that it was contained, that it was (relatively, terribly) a small incident, I was still stressed as hell. Especially when it was confirmed that one of the unexploded devices was found outside Boston proper, in my sister's town, where they'd been watching the race go by.

(family members who might have been affected have been accounted for, which is why I'm able to type this now)

I avoided any visual updates as the story broke, but even the texts were enough to trigger a mild "I need to sit down and cry/shake a bit" moment. It's the inability to DO anything but stand witness, distanced but immediate, that hurts me, then and now.

I am both unsettled and touched by the fact that one of my tweets, a reminder that you're not 'letting anyone down' by looking away from the media coverage if it's hurting you, has been retweeted now over 300 times, and translated into Dutch. Maybe I was able to do something this time? Even if just to reassure someone that they didn't have to tear open their own wounds, to help staunch someone else's...?

In times of awfulness, be a Helper, as Mister Rogers told us.  However you can, as much as you can.

As to who did this, why, what their twisted logic might be...this has the feel of Oklahoma City all over again, although thankfully done with less competence. Tax Day, Patriot's Day (Observed) in Boston.... probably not a coincidence. But I'm not going to speculate further, because we don't know. And pointless speculation does damage, not healing.

I'm just lighting a candle, and sitting beside it.  Feel free to light your own, pour a glass, and sit with me....

Today's Lesson is Zen
citron presse

Along with the occasional joys and successes, into every writer's life come the things that fall through. The options that are never picked up, the movie deals that stall, the projects that are cancelled, and endless variations through every year and day of your career. They're not even things that you can maybe use later: it's dead, Jim.

You learn to roll with it, because the only other option is to throw yourself onto your sofa, sobbing at the Unfairness of the World, and that gets boring the fifth or sixth time (trust me on this).

This morning, I finally, sadly, accepted the probability that a project I'd been really excited about isn't going to happen. The checks are cashed, so I can't even say I've been hard done by...but after a few years of saying "well, maybe..." I've put the project on the shelf of "someday" and closed the cabinet door. If the project is revived at some point I'll be thrilled, but I'm not looking for it any more.

My point is that this happens to everyone. Everyone. Newbies, famous folk, and the rest of us in-between. Not everything is Midas-touched. Sometimes, you get the Gorgon. And it's not even a dread Learning Experience. It's just something that happens.

Don't linger over it, don't hold a wake. Let go.

socially, I'm in Chapter 11
Since 31 January, I have been socially interactive - in a crowd, no less - 4x. Four times, in a single week.

This may seem perfectly normally to some of you, but that realization went a long way to explaining why last night, at the 4th of those gatherings, my brain went "no more people. Nyet. None" and directed me to go the fuck HOME.

I like people. But I am a social introvert: less is more. Bring me the people in groups of two and three (five, max) and I am perfectly forever happy. Shove me into a crowd of ten or more, even when they're people I like/find interesting, and you've thrown me into a den of vampires: my energy will fade and then so will I.

The trick, of course, is to ration these gatherings, and when rationing isn't possible, make quick hits and then leave graciously. But it still kind of sucks sometimes, when you're having a good time but know that you can't take much more without significant cost...

This is one of the godsends of the digital age: I can interact with a lot of people over the course of the day through the Internet, and the drain, while there, is massively reduced. It's a lot like living in a major city, really: if I want a conversation, it's there. If I don't my neighbors and fellow city-dwellers are perfectly happy to ignore me/not be a drain.

This may explain why I've spent today with the door locked and the phone turned off*, purging my research library and reshelving the survivors... For the record, 30 culled, 250+ survivors. I think that's a respectable ratio.

*ok, ok, I was livetweeting the cull. That doesn't count.

For Abby, Abby, and Nate, Part 1 of An Ongoing Series
sky dragon
Being a teenager is hard. It's always been hard, between hormones and peer pressure and impatience, and the endless barrage of modern media only makes it tougher. So I figured I'd share with you some of the things I've learned over the years. We'll start here.

Six Things that Make You Attractive, Even on Your Worst Hair Day Ever.

1. eyes that look with curiosity.
2. mouths that lift in a smile.
3. hands that are open, not clenched.
4. throats that fill with joy, not scorn.
5. legs that stride, rather than creep.
6. minds that ask "why" and "how" rather than "why should I?"

with love,

your auntie meerkat

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