Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

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

Entries by tag: personal

[sticky post]Laura Anne's Almost Inevitably Incomplete* Bibliography!
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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 )

So, yeah. This is happening.
Where "this" is a leave of absence from NYC.

In December, I'm packing up self, cats, and a limited (!) number of books, and hauling cross-country to Seattle, where I will take up residence for a year (or two).

No, I'm not abandoning NYC. I still own my apartment - a friend is subletting, a time-honored NYC tradition, and I can only do that for two years before the co-op board starts making unhappy noises at me. I'll be back.

But then why? various people have been asking since I first mentioned this scheme.

Well.... mainly because I never intended to be a person who lived her entire life in the same place. And for the past 4 decades, although I've moved about, it's always been within the NY-CT-NJ axis. Mind, I love this area, and my soul belongs to NYC (I can show you the paperwork), but.... I'm not a person for sameness-all-my-life. It makes me itch. And travel only scratches so far.  So it felt like it was time for a (temporary) shakeup.

And why Seattle? I like it. I like the Pacific Northwest. I like the combination of city life and waterfront and easy access to mountains, and the sense of flipping everything I know about being on one coast and looking at it from another. I like the fact that new states will now be within driving/exploring distance. And, yep, I like the people there. Well, most of them. Okay, a lot of them.

And there are work-relevant reasons for this location, too.  But more on that later, maybe.

So that's what's been in the planning for the past few months, and this week I signed a lease for my apartment there.  I'm kinda excited, more than a little stressed, and probably more freaked out than I'm realizing.

But I'm really looking forward to seeing the sun rise and set from a slightly different angle, and hanging with the west coast for a while.

But I'm still not going to root for the Seahawks*.

Related New Household Rule: If I haven’t used a reference book in 5+ years, I really didn’t need it.  No, really.  No, don’t put it back on the shelf….

gross sobbing

*I may be not be on speaking terms with the NFL like whoa right now, but Jersey Blue forevah.

A date of note (for me, at least)
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June 14th, 1989.

It was a Wednesday.  I believe that it was a sunny day, but not too warm.  I was probably sweating anyway.  I got on the train to come into NYC from NJ, walked over from the PATH station on 34th street to 200 Madison Avenue, on the corner of 35th street, and took the elevator up to the... I don't actually remember what floor.

I walked into the HR department, signed papers, and was escorted to another floor, to meet with my new boss (Neil Nyren, Editor-in-Chief and newly-minted publisher of G.P. Putnam's Sons (the hardcover side of what was then Putnam-Berkley).

Officially today, I have been in the publishing biz (on one side of the desk or another) for twenty-five years.

Which is weird, because I'm pretty sure I'm still in my mid-30's.  Child prodigy, right?

(okay, I was 21.  Close enough)

So yeah. Twenty-five years ago. If you'd told me the path I'd take to get to this point, I probably would have said... "oh, that's AWESOME!"


and now...
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reality check. Or, the camera doesn't lie so much as give you the worst case scenario
the general warned me...
Hrm. Feeling good *checks mirror* looking pretty good...

*gets passport photos*


On the plus side, there won't be any issues at passport control when I stagger in off a redeye...

a rare "beauty" product endorsement
For years - YEARS, people - I chewed my fingernails down to the quick. And even after I stopped that, I'd still chew on the cuticles. And I hated that, because ragged bloody fingers do not give a good impression. So the trick was to make sure I didn't have cuticles to chew on. But manicures aren't cheap (not good ones, anyway).

So I've tried a lot of home care products. And most of them...meh. But last month I picked up a pot of Sally Hansen cuticle massage cream, because hey, a $6 experiment.

Best $6 I've spent in a long time. The skin around my nail bed is smooth and healthy after just a week of use, and I can't swear it's related, but my nails are stronger, too. The product feels a little waxy at first, but it massages into the skin easily, and has a nice smell (sort of orange-y) that fades quickly. And even though the pot is tiny (.4 oz), you use so little each time, it lasts much longer than you'd think.

The one drawback is that the plastic protecting the contents is a bitch to get off. Don't try to pull it off - cut it away with a paring knife or scissors.

Ass in chair, followed by feet on trail
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2700 new words, then the rain left, the sun came out, and I hauled myself out of the chair and went for my run. And I discovered that it's hit the time of year when I need to switch to an evening run... *sweats, collapses*  You people who don't get the natural wonder drug known as a runner's high - how the hell do you make yourself ever exercise?  If I didn't know that at some point my body would start feeling good.... nope.

On the plus side, since part of my run goes through wetlands, I got my fill of red-winged blackbirds today. Y'know how some things just always make you smile? That flash of yellow and red does it for me. No idea why.

And now...back to work.  Or a nap.  Napworking!

Some days I have an opinion. Some days it doesn't matter.
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So - after dithering and putting it off until my hair was several (4) inches below my shoulders an more than a little, um, shaggy - I finally walked into the salon this afternoon, fully intending to go drastic and have it all chopped off to above my chin, just for the change.

H, who has been doing my hair for six years now, took one look at me and said "no, you look fabulous, I am not cutting all that off."

We compromised, which is to say I lost.

But it is shorter, and much less shaggy now, and if I still want to go short for winter, she will graciously allow me to do so. :-)

Hey, in all those six years, she's given me exactly ONE haircut I wasn't a hundred percent thrilled with. She's probably earned the right to boss me around a little.

In which the meerkat gets very, very quiet. And that's not good.
peevy short chick
It's been a very, very long time since I was as angry at someone as I am right now.

Literally, wordless and shaking with anger. Blast-level anger of the sort that doesn't fade after I've had time to rant it off.

Because yes, I hold certain standards for people I call friend, and the first is that you don't blame someone else for your own fuckups, and the second that you don't EVER use professional standing to threaten someone over a personal matter. Ever.

No, I'm not going to name names.  They know. Just consider this a bankable warning: I have a very long fuse, but once it goes off, there is no going back or unsparking it.
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Working On A New Bio....
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Which is harder than it seems/should be.  What do you leave in?  What do you take out?  How many versions do you have? (some places have a 100 words requirement, others 250, some 500…)

What do you want to see in a bio?  How far out do you want to know about upcoming books/how old is too old for information to be included?  Mention pets, or don’t mention pets?

Here’s the one I sent to various conventions for 2014:

Laura Anne Gilman is the Nebula-nominated author of the “Vineart War” trilogy, the popular Cosa Nostradamus books, and the forthcoming “Devil’s West” series (Simon & Schuster, 2015). She also writes mysteries under the name L.A. Kornetsky (COLLARED, FIXED and the forthcoming DOGHOUSE), and has been known to sell the occasional short story or three. A former editor for Penguin, she now runs d.y.m.k. productions, an editorial/writing service, and keeps herself busy splitting her time between writing, editing, and traveling.

When I’m acting directly as L.A. Kornetsky I mention the animals, because hey, writing an animal-featuring mystery series!  But do CatofSize and the Kitten of Thursday and the Time-Share Puppy belong in LAG’s bio? (of course they think so…)

Originally published at Writer, Editor, Tired Person.

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 I like the morning...
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Warm enough for a pre-dawn walk this morning - comfortably chilly, and the ice has (for the moment) melted off the sidewalks. The sky shaded from white-blue at the skyline to the clear blue-black overhead, lit by the moon and more stars that most people think they can see in the city...

(still nothing like a rural sky, but reassuring nonetheless)

The city's quiet at this hour - the sounds of busses and the occasional cars going by, of course - that's the heartbeat of the city. But the hum it has after 7am, the surrounding murmur of voices and the thicker air of daylight is replaced by the thin, still air of night, where a single sound is amplified and carried for miles... You can hear your own heartbeat, before the sun rises.

Full day ahead. Where's the coffee?

randomly, part 2 (personal)
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I grew up in suburban NJ, home of shopping malls and supermarkets, among many other wonderous things. But as a city-dweller for the past 8 years, and a happily car-less one for most of those, it's rare that I go to an Actual Grocery Store and load up a car. But since I had Sibling Loaner this week, I did so this morning.

Thus reminding me of two things:

1. Suburban-style supermarkets are kind of awesome, but hauling things in from the car is a PitA (even though I managed to find a parking spot right outside my building).

2. I seriously pay for the convenience of being able to order my groceries at any time of day (or, more often, 3am) and have them delivered, without the cost of owning/operating a car. Okay, maybe that last bit more than evens things out. But still: a car full of foodstuff (fruit, veggies, meats, dairy) for under $100. Yahsssssss.

(but also 3. the quality of meats at my on-line grocery is better than even at the high-end supermarket. And a larger selection of local small producers/farmers, which is more expensive but I can afford to indulge my preferences there. So there's that.)
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Entering Day 2 of this low-level but annoying headache, despite painkillers, sleep, fresh (cold) air, and enough caffeine/food. The biosuit is displeasing me this week.

(then again, compared to the migraines I used to suffer in my 20's and early 30's, this is a cakewalk. So not complaining so much as muttering under my breath as I head into the mines for the day).

It's a funny thing, physical pain. I mean, funny-hah-hah and funny-weird.  Not only does everyone have a different scale of "what hurts," but it changes based on what we've experienced. It's almost like it's...trying to teach us something?

It's Monday so hey...let's talk about the deeper, boozier stuff!
It is the day after the Superbowl, which means I am slightly tired in the "I had a few drinks and a lot of rich food, spent a lot of time in the company of other people and therefore my resources are drained, and like a good classic social introvert I now need to spend a day or two alone."

(where "alone" means either alone, or in the company of individuals who do not drain me. Not-people, as an ex of mine once termed them.)

It was a good party, though, cumulating in the now-almost-traditional inebriated argument with David Silverman (president of the American Atheists organization), about his repeated attempts to co-opt me [and others] under the umbrella of "atheists' even though that is not how I self-identify. The argument is always in good fun, but there are times when I just want to drop an anvil on his head (Me: "you know who redefines terms in the middle of an argument, David?" Republicans!" David, recoiling in horror: "Low blow!")

For the record, although I do not consider myself particularly religious, I do believe in something greater than the individual, a spark (for lack of any more specific and accessible term) that connects all living things (and possibly non-living things too). I can describe it via faith and I can describe it via science, but the base result is that I do not require any proof or verification of that greater spark, but accept it as a thing that exists because hey look, Life and Self-Awareness!  Yes, I suppose that this spark could be seen by others as a deity (I neither accept nor refuse that term but find it useless, since we all are part of the spark and therefore we would all be god). But I do not see it as being 'conscious' in the way we've oft-portrayed a deity.  Then again, our idea of "conscious" is limited by our own current awareness, which may or may not encompass all that exists.  So why must we assume godhead is a conscious entity?   Wheee.

(I also reject the use of "supernatural" in this instance (which atheism arguments seem fond of) because if it exists in and of itself, rather than by fabrication, it is by definition "natural." )

No, David, I'm not an atheist. You don't get to claim me. I'm not a theist, either, unless you expand the term to the broadest possible definition. It's possible I'm a reconstructionist* deist**?

(It's worth noting that the conversation started to break up in laughter when I told David "of course we're both Jewish! Listen to how we're arguing over this!")

*for those unfamiliar with the term, Reconstructionst Judaism sees the collective body of Jewish laws, customs and traditions not as binding, but as a valuable cultural remnant that should be upheld unless there is reason for the contrary.

**and while the Authorities often decried deists as atheists, they were using it as an insult, along with 'heretic,' rather than an accurate description.

Finding Your Voice (no, not that voice, the other voice)
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Two weeks ago, sitting in Mary Robinette Kowal's "how to give a reading" seminar at Illogicon*, we discovered that I don't hum.

No, really. She asked us to do a voice exercise that involving humming up and down your range, to expand it, and I... couldn't. It was such a strange, unfamiliar request, that the more I tried the more self-conscious I became, and the more impossible the exercise was to do. Which was a shame, and frustrating.  But I'd long ago resigned myself to a relatively limited vocal range, so - whatever.

A little while later in the seminar, we learned that Mary can't roll her Rs. This, I can do, easily as eating potato chips (Rrrrrrufles have rrrrrridges. Enrrrrrrique loves his motherrrrrrr.) And - possibly showing off a little-- I trilled my Rs. Because trilling is another thing I can do.

"Do that," Mary said.
"Instead of humming. Trill."

Yeah, right. But I promised to try.

Fast-forward two weeks, to this morning. I've been doing the trilling exercises mostly every day - much to the bemusement and fascination of the cats - and just for the hell of it, tried to speak in a lower than normal voice while I was reading the WiP.

And what came out was a lovely tenor-ish growl (compared to my usual light alto**).

So I went for broke, and tried to speak higher, for another character. And managed a non-cracking falsetto without sounding like an idiot. For about a sentence or two, anyway.

So, okay. It's possible that anything is possible. :-)


So, amusement factor aside, this may change how I read, but is it changing how I write?  No.  And...maybe, yes.

While you don't have to use every tool in your toolbox when creating (and in fact, sometimes half of craft is knowing when NOT to use a tool), having options allows you to think of, sort through, and determine the best tool to use, rather than just defaulting to the one that's most comfortable in your hand.

How I'd read a character isn't the same as how I write them - our internal dialogue and the narrative text serve different needs from spoken dialogue, and the WHO of a character is not predicated on the tenor of their voice so much as their speech patterns. And yet, as I work on the current manuscript, the POV slips between characters - the younger woman, the older male, the character-of-fluid-self, the character who is never quite what you think - and while I'm not always letting my voice slip when I read their dialogue to myself, some part of my brain is now thinking how I could. And that fact alone informs the writing.

*if you ever have a chance to sit in on one of her seminars, do it.  Even if the only public speaking you do is in office or classroom meetings.
**I have a suspicion I'd actually be a mezzo-soprano, but until such a time as a professional comments, I'll stick with where I was stashed in middle-school chorus.

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