Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Right now I'm facing a combination of deadlines and depression. If you'll pardon me, I have come to a distressing conclusion that I'd like to air.

The virtue I value most highly is kindness.

I like being nice. I work hard at it because I want to live in a world where people like each other and look out for one another's interests.

Yet there is a person who I am responsible for, and I have treated them in a fashion that would, in a just world, land me in prison.

I have beaten this individual. I have broken their bones. I have cut them -- the scars are quite visible. I have burned them, pierced them with needles. In moments of stress, I will bite them until they bleed, wrench at their mouth as if to tear it wider. More than once I have worked them to the point of injury. I have starved them, denied them water, limited their opportunities whenever possible.

And all the while I have insulted them and abused their person to such a degree that they have accepted my abuse as simple justice. I have made them feel unworthy to such a degree that they fear that they might simply cease to exist as a result of sheer inadequacy.

Whatever I did to their body, what I did to their soul was worse.

Now that I see what I've done, I am lost.

What recompense can I offer this person? What can I give them to make up for what I have taken?

What's worse is the thought of being forgiven. It is unimaginable and unbearable. And I will be forgiven.

The person I hurt is very kind.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Glory and Majesty

There's a long way to go, but Swill 6 is off and running.

So it's been an interesting week. First came the news that writer Ferrett Steinmetz has a story up for a Nebula. Here it is -- Sauerkraut Station. This was good news to me, because I've worked with Ferrett a few times before, and feel a particular affinity for his work. He's different than most genre writers in that every story I've seen by him was centered on a deeply felt emotional question, and that's the kind of thing that gets my attention. If you look to your right and scroll down, you'll find a list of the most popular posts on this blog; the fourth is called Notes To A Fellow Writer. The fellow writer was Ferrett. This makes it a particular pleasure to bask in his glory. It's nice to know my advice won't actually hinder a person so badly they can't recover from it.

I had a taste of glory my own self. Check it out -- I was interviewed on Scientific American's Symbiartic blog. Scientific American, motherfuckers. (My photo was taken by my pal Deborah Kuchar, by the way.)

My grandmother got me a subscription to this every year when I was a kid, back when it was an appalling terminological pissing contest decorated with Mathematical Games and The Amateur Scientist. I could struggle through life sciences or geological stuff, but most of it went way over my head at the time... Still, there's a real sentimental attachment to the institution. This is like getting into The New Yorker.

It feels weird. My interview is kind of puffed-up and starchy, and there's a humiliatingly obvious boy/girl division between me and the other artist, but still, I don't think it comes across as some kind of mistake, or gross breach of propriety that I and my work are there. Hell, the work looks eerily convincing. It feels weird.

I still don't really believe it.