Journal
 

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Pictures!

So it's been a while since you've seen what my kids look like...

Here's Aviva:      1   2   3   4   
with my Dad     5   

Here's Noah:      1   2   
with Esther       3    4    5   
with my mom      6    7   


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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Quantitative Proof Of My Racism

The Implicit Association Test out of Harvard measures unconscious prejudices in your web browser. It's quite a fascinating mechanism, and my hunch is it's more or less accurate -- I could actually feel, while taking the test, that my brain had to work harder to associate certain pairs of categories than other pairs.

As it turns out, I have a moderate unconscious preference for white people over black people, and a moderate unconscious preference for Judaism over other religions.

No big surprise, really, growing up (Jewish) in race-embattled 20th-century Amercia. A larger group of web respondents -- 48% , I think? -- actually has a strong unconscious preference for whites over blacks. Which grim fact gives me some shallow, personal comfort (some of my best friends...).

:-/

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Monday, May 17, 2004

A head and two feet

This conversation was reported to me from Switzerland:

Aviva: "Right, so mommy, when I die I'll just be a head and two feet"
Esther, nonplussed: "What? Why do you say that?"
Aviva: "Because I won't have my body. Your body is what's between your head and your feet."
Esther: "No, honey, in this case your body is everything *including* your head and your feet."
Aviva: (long pause)
Aviva: What do you think that will be like, not having anything?

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Inalienable

Says Rumsfeld: "The building of a free state in Iraq has proceeded probably with fewer lives lost and certainly no more mayhem that we endured here in the United States 228 years ago when we were going through it."

The interesting thing about this comparison to me -- since you've brought it up, Donald -- is that our Founding Fathers were considerably riled up about issues like arbitrary arrest, arbitrary search and seizure, confinement without access to counsel, and cruel and unusual punishment. It was perhaps their major complaint against King George, why they were willing to risk their lives and their sacred honor.

Nor did they see human rights as the narrowly defined privilege of citizens of a certain state, or something that one extends to allies, nor even as something which could be forfeited by criminals or rebels. They regarded them as inalienable.

At least they claimed to: in practice they were slaveholders, of course. But within their admittedly narrow idea of who was a full human being, they did not regard human rights as a gift of the state, nor as a gesture to your friends, but as an intrinsic possession.

When the rebels of 1776 took up arms against King George, they did not have any uniforms. If they were captured today -- under our government's current, narrowly circumscribed view of human rights -- they would be regarded as "enemy combatants" and not accorded the protections the Geneva Convention extends to prisoners of war. They could be held indefinitely, without bail, without counsel, and interrogated in a cruel and unusual fashion.

Click here to continue reading "Inalienable"
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Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Stories and such

Writing news:

Five of the "Other Cities" stories from my chapbook collection will be translated into Japanese for the special June 2004 slipstream issue of Hayakawa SF.

"Embracing-the-New" will be translated into Croatian for the magazine Futura.

An SF tale, "Start the Clock", about viruses, pirates and never growing old, will appear in the August 2004 issue of F&SF. The story was inspired by a play by Diana Sherman, part of the Exquisite Corpuscle project, and Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote a poem inspired by my story in turn.

My odd little story "The Valley of the Giants" from Argosy (which Locus called a
"telling gender fable" -- telling? gender? fable?) will be reprinted in The
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #17
, edited by Ellen Datlow, Gavin Grant and Kelly Link.

Nice review of the "Other Cities" collection in Tangent.

My groceries are also famous.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Back from Blue Heaven

Yes, I'm back from Blue Heaven. Chance has posted about it here and here. Chris has posted about it here and here. Here's Paul's. Here's Lisa's.

Do you really need anything else from me?

It was lovely to see last year's running jokes become this year's revered institutions. It was fun to see how much fun it is to play "I Never" (the storytelling version, not the drinking version) with a bunch of writers -- not just the cleverness of the telling, but the unjudging eye writers bring to all the disasters and absurdities and follies of their lives, once they begin to tell them as stories -- the fascination with human beings being human which dispenses with all apology or censure or boasting or justification.

The Surrealist Oracle and the singalong and wrestling on the lawn and the talking and talking and talking (and it was not all me, no matter what they try to tell you...) Lovely to be with the pack.

Beyond that, we did a lot of work. Evening sessions on agents and publishers and marketing and community building and so on (one of which inspired me to think more about how to use this site, hence the new Movable Type interface). And the critiquing. Much, much critiquing.

As for "Library of Souls" -- the novel I brought (same novel as always, yet another title): it survived. They loved the concept, they loved the prose, they appreciated the structural improvements from last year. They loved some of the characters. They still hate the main character, and what's worse, he's gone from reprehensible to bland. Ouch. And generally things just don't cohere as well as we want them to. I fear that, daunted by the hugeness of a novel (as opposed to short stories), we overarchitected it, with the result that major character transitions feel forced -- the hand of the authors interposes itself too often.

I expect this can be fixed.

I'm taking a month off from the book to work on stories ("A Siege of Cranes" and "The House Beyond Your Sky" have been demanding attention, for two). After that the sleeves will be rolled up and the critiques waded through. Hmm.

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A test of Movable Type

I'm trying out the Movable Type blogging system. In a way, it would be nice to have a simple system that let me journal much easier. On the other hand, I like the older interface a lot.

After some twiddling, I believe I have got the best of both worlds. The interface looks more or less the same, but it's much easier to post entries this way. Movable Type is quite flexible, and very spiffy (although, of course, I would like its tag language to be a more complete programming language. They could at least have a general "if" tag).

I have imported backdated entries from April and February from The Rumor Mill... click on "Prev" a few times to see them.

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