Back to previous post: Bah.

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Holy Trinity, Batman!

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

March 17, 2004

Is it me —
Posted by Teresa at 11:23 PM *

— or has the entire universe been unnaturally irritating lately? I’m not so far gone that I can’t tell that the former is the likelier explanation, nor yet so perky that I’m ready to let go of the latter hypothesis.

Patrick and I are still getting over this whatever-it-is bug. As mentioned earlier, I wound up in the ER, unable to breathe, which was unsettling because I’ve been breathing for decades and thought I had the technique down pat. The nice people at New York Presbyterian put me on a combination of antibiotics and steroids which helped my breathing but made me unprecedentedly irritable. After noticing that I seemed to be biting a lot of ankles here and in Electrolite, I went off and did other things for a while. Chalk it up to social responsibility.

Then, yesterday morning, I found a perfectly loathsome letter in my mailbox from some guy I’ve never heard of before. He was taking exception to my use of the word idiot to describe A. A. Yngve, a supercilious semi-troll who’d turned up in Patrick’s weblog. Yngve first appeared over in Electrolite with a comment that included a prominent link to his webpage, where he advertises his six self-published novels. I initially suspected the link was the real purpose of Yngve’s appearance there, but he stuck around to argue. I was in the ER at the time, so his first several posts survived, and by the time I got around to checking out what had happened, kicking Yngve out would have been like depriving a bunch of seals of their ball. I don’t think I was grumpier about him than was warranted. At the time, I felt positively virtuous in my restraint.

Yngve himself took the epithet in stride. The letter’s not from him. It’s from some other guy entirely, one who appears to have no connection with him. The letter’s author is some kind of online writer. He’s been writing online for a long time: has a journal, writes a lot of fiction and poetry. I don’t know whether he’s tried to get anything conventionally published. He appears to have it in for his girlfriend’s editor, but his writeup of that makes it sound like it’s more a girlfriend thing than a writer thing. But I don’t know; maybe it’s a writer thing.

Below is the text of his letter, with comments to follow: not because it’s such an extraordinary object that it deserves the attention, but because this kind of crap is one of the less-well-known recurrent aspects of the editorial life:
Hello Teresa,
Hello, unidentified person with whom I have had no prior contact, who isn’t bothering to introduce himself.
I was sitting here wondering what business an editor at Tor has calling a writer, any writer, an “idiot.”
I have the same business anyone else has, and I have no time for people who appoint me to strange roles in their rich inner fantasy lives. I’m not responsible for what I do in their dreams.

“Tor” and “business” don’t belong in the same sentence as “my weblog.” It’s not a Tor website; it’s mine, and I can say anything on it that isn’t contrary to the laws of Ghod and man or the guidelines of my ISP. I very seldom speak ex cathedra as Tor in any context (writing the Tor Books FAQ or the Tor Submission Guidelines doesn’t count), and if on some occasion I did, I’d start by explicitly saying that’s what I was doing. Sending me this letter is like giving someone who works at Apple a hard time because they’ve called a software developer, any software developer, an idiot.

I’m truly not impressed by this guy supposedly trying to take a bite out of me on Yngve’s behalf. This is one of my least favorite varieties of online behavior: showing up out of the blue to try to collect on guilt I allegedly should be feeling for the sufferings of some uninvolved third party. The usual example of this I cite is the white guy who comes busting into a well-established discussion of (say) colonial policies in North America, yelling at self-indulgent length about how we’re callously ignoring the fact that the indigenous peoples were genocidally dispossessed of their lands.

Let us now consider the matter of writers. I’m a writer. So’s my husband. So’s the guy who wrote me the letter. So are most of you. For pete’s sake, this is the internet—we’re all writers!

Even if you take a narrower definition of the term, am I supposed to regard as sacred every person who conceives a set of writerly ambitions? This chucklehead can’t have been paying nearly enough attention to the people around him if he hasn’t yet noticed how many of them fit that description. I seldom have the urge to describe any of you as idiots, but I’d like to retain the option, because if I didn’t I’d be a poor toothless lion in a den full of roaring Daniels. (Note.)

Besides, it’s not like this guy has himself been respectful to other writers. I knew that much going in—no writer respects all other writers—but I went and Googled him up anyway. Sure enough, there it was, in spades. The most notable instance I found was back in 2003, when he devoted considerable column space to trashing an author whose novels Patrick had bought a few months earlier. Come to think of it, that may be what’s going on here. I occasionally catch flak from people who don’t feel up to confronting Patrick.

I’ll wait a minute while everyone who knows us stops laughing.

Anyway, as I say, this guy thinks it’s perfectly all right for him to judge other writers. He just doesn’t think—and loftily, too—that I should do so.

In a way, it reminds me of those periodic eruptions of hot air you get in SFWA where they deplore the passing of the days when editors were automatically impressed by a letter that had the words “Member: SFWA” at the bottom. Never mind that this supposed golden age is as hard to track down as the ruins of Atlantis. What always gets me is that NOT ONE of the people who make this lament would automatically be impressed by a letter that had “Member: SFWA” at the bottom. Far from it. Their opinions of their fellow SFWAns are frequently quite vivid. Nevertheless, they’re recurrently distressed to think that editors aren’t automatically impressed by those magic words.

They’re not stupid. They’re just having an attack of that most basic auctorial insanity, “This is all about me, isn�t it—me and my books? That is what you�re talking about, right?” What they mean is that in spite of their poor opinions of many of their fellow SFWA members, they think editors should be impressed by “Member: SFWA” at the bottom of their letters.

Perhaps the same thing is going on with my correspondent, in which case what he’s actually saying is either “How dare you judge me?” or “Please don’t judge me.” If so, he’s taking the wrong approach by sending me specimens of his writing. Or possibly his message is “Please don’t tell me you’ve never heard of me,” in which case it’s only fractionally less daft.
It seems beneath you, both personally and professionally.
None of my immediate reactions to that line are printable. An approximate and abbreviated translation would be, “And who the bleep are you?”

On reflection, I find I can’t improve on that. He’s the one sending a spectacularly rude and condescending letter to a total stranger. Besides, if I’m so triffically elevated, how come I don’t have the power to squash him like a bug? For that matter, if I’m so triffically elevated, why isn’t he being more respectful, hmmm? In fact, if I’m so triffically elevated, and yet he thinks it’s appropriate for him to be this condescending to me, his opinion of himself must be pretty darn glorious.

But we knew that already.
It is one thing to disagree, another to insult, and still quite another to hold someone up to ridicule —
Assignment: Show me where the bright line’s drawn. Justify drawing it on the near side of a single descriptive adjective. Alternately, identify which of those three things I’m doing right now.
— when you know a good portion of the people there are kissing your ass (and your husband’s) in the hopes you’ll notice them and publish their attempts at fiction.
Let me get the heavy stuff out of the way first. Someday I won’t be acquiring any more. I know that when that happens, there’ll be some people I quite liked, and thought of as friends, who won’t have nearly so much time for me anymore. That’ll hurt. And until that day comes, I can’t really know exactly who they’ll be. But in the meantime, I refuse to regard people as being that mercenary. It would be unjust. Better that I be hurt in the future than that I hurt my real friends now.

End of heavy stuff, back to lampoon, starting with my firm resolve to never, ever get into a game of Spin the Bottle with a guy who thinks that ass-kissing is the name of the game. (One irresistibly wants to hear what Gardner would have to say about it.)

I thought everybody knew by now that sucking up to editors isn’t cost-effective behavior. We can like you perfectly well, indeed love you dearly, without feeling the least obligation to buy your work; and then we’ll turn around and buy a book from a complete stranger, for no better reason than that we loved his book and didn’t love yours. Jim Frenkel was once approached at a convention by an attractive young lady, who said, approximately:
“Golly, Mr. Frenkel, I’d do anything to be a published author.”

“Anything?”

Anything.”

“Then write me a good book.”
Patrick has a little “Rejection Avoidance Kit” in his office, sent to him some years ago by Maureen McHugh. I forget who was making them. It’s a Smokehouse Almond can wrapped in a bright scrap of fabric. Inside are little Guatemalan worry dolls, each one labeled with the name of an editor who was acquiring at that time, plus various bits of equipment for tormenting the dolls, and a sheet of instructions on how to use them. Patrick hadn’t been an acquiring editor long, but already there was a little doll in the kit with his name on it. I won’t say this kind of auctorial scrutiny doesn’t get to me sometimes. When it does, the internet has a lot of venues that don’t require a credit card and won’t display your e-mail address. I don’t go there to misbehave. I just hang out and talk, like any other fan, and get ignored or listened to in just measure. It’s reassuring. Then I come home.
I didn’t read the comments. I didn’t want to see the pile on.
If he didn’t read the comments, he’s got no right to say anything about them. But if he had, he’d have found out that there wasn’t a pile-on. Or perhaps he did read the comments, but said that anyway.
Perhaps your illness has impaired your judgement.
If it has, I wouldn’t know it; but his name is near the bottom of the list of people whose word I’d take on it.
In any case, an apology to Yngve is in order. Not expected, but in order.
I’m sorry I don’t have time for this crap. I’m sorry this guy’s life is unsatisfactory. I’m sorry that it seems to him appropriate to take that out on me. I’m sorry Yngve is a twerp; and yet, I’m also sorry that Yngve doesn’t have a better defender than this. I’m genuinely sorry that Yngve may have suffered a professional mishap, and I’m likewise sorry that this guy didn’t read the comments and see me discreetly tipping Yngve off about it, because he might have learned something. I’m sorry my imaginative sympathy fails me when I try to reconstruct the mindset that would think it was appropriate to send a letter like his to someone with whom I have neither business in common nor prior acquaintance. And finally, I’m sorry that my correspondent’s poetry is frequently indistinguishable from prose with wordbreaks; that his intentional prose consists of utilitarian expository sentences which stack up into paragraphs that mean less than the sum of their parts; and that he’s earless about punctuation in the vicinity of parenthetical phrases, because having those ineradicable tendencies in one’s writing is enough to make any ambitious writer feel cranky.
By the way, I don’t know Yngve from Adam.
I’m not confused on that point.
And I sent this through email (rather than throwing it into your comments) —
Because he’s a wuss?
—to save you from embarrassment.
I am in fact suffering occasional brief moments of feeling intensely embarrassed on this guy’s behalf. I hate that.
I hope you’ll greet this in the manner it is intended.
I hope you intended to get the response you got.
I think you’re a fine, fine writer, —
You’re still not getting my Bud Light.
but I also think you’re an influential editor—
Hah. Shows how much he knows about the business.
and therefore have no business—
You, the horse you rode in on, and your little dog Toto too. Wanker.
getting into online catfights—
One adjective does not a catfight make; and remember, this is coming from someone who has himself gotten into significant online brangles. Whatever this letter is really about—and there I can only speculate—it’s not about my calling Yngve an idiot.
—with those much weaker than yourself.
I hate crap like this. I’m just an editor. I work on books. Sometimes I buy them. That’s all.

When you see someone cherishing this bizarre belief that you’re this hugely powerful figure who can’t be hurt (which in their minds invariably turns out to also mean that the jerk who in reality is going after your shins with steel-toed boots is a tiny fragile creature in danger of being horribly oppressed by you), you know the person you’re dealing with is operating in the Dream Time. This particular psychodrama is about him feeling like he doesn’t have enough power, which usually means he either thinks I’ve stolen his away, or that I simply have too much and will imminently squash him like the insect he is.

Cripes. Don’t I just wish.

Comments on Is it me --:
#1 ::: dargie ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:00 AM:

It's not just you. The universe has sucked mightily lately. Fear not. Er, well, only a little anyway.

#2 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:11 AM:

Oh, yes. It sucks beyond all one-time conceivable paranoid barely-imaginable nightmares of suckage.

278 days left. And then we start cleaning up the mess, if that's even possible.

#3 ::: Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:30 AM:

I feel strongly reminded of something by the opening gambit of that wee missive. Specifically:

"Tor Books, Tammany Hall, and the First Armored Division."

#4 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:10 AM:

Courage. I have friends who are astrologically inclined who would doubtless tell me that Some Damned Planet has gone splah, and everything will be better when it gets nudged back into its proper orbit.

I have other friends who simply say, at times like this, that it's raining assholes.

(Paranthetically, I am daunted by the number of people I recognized in that aerial shot of the SFWA mill n' swill.)

#5 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:48 AM:

"Besides, if Im so triffically elevated, how come I dont have the power to squash him like a bug?"

But, er, you just *did*. Very effectively, too. He[1] should have put his silly failed chastisement in the comments thread; the worst that would have happened then is disemvowelment.

There's nothing wrong with holding somebody up to ridicule when that person is intrinsically ridiculous. :)


[1] random gender assignment; I'm afraid I can't distinguish genders by arrogance very well

#6 ::: Mike Mearls ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:53 AM:

Wow, that was funny. For some people, self-importance is the only sort of importance they'll ever have.

I work in the RPG industry, so I sometimes get loony letters/forum posts like this one. Once, a guy pissed me off so badly that I offered to pay his airfare to a major gaming con so I could kick his ass.

He didn't take me up on the offer.

#7 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:12 AM:

Courage. I have friends who are astrologically inclined who would doubtless tell me that Some Damned Planet has gone splah, and everything will be better when it gets nudged back into its proper orbit.

Maybe it's that new planet. Its orbit's eccentric enough, and it takes so flippin' long to get round the Sun that all parties start without it, leaving it naught to do except write snippy "more in sorrow than anger" notes to the other planets.

#8 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:04 AM:

Come to think of it, that may be whats going on here. I occasionally catch flak from people who dont feel up to confronting Patrick. Ill wait a minute while everyone who knows us stops laughing

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Patrick told you I was having dental problems and you made this up just so I could have a good laugh, right? Right?

Ahem. Well, I do enjoy the occasional eviscerations of this sort which you perform so very well. Keep up the good work. Perhaps someday I'll be able to laugh at them without coughing. Perhaps.

MKK--you know, she adds thoughfully, if they give me nitrous tomorrow this could offer rich pickings for some good fantasy....

#9 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:12 AM:

It's not just you; 2004 has roundly sucked all around. The only reason I'm here reading this weblog is because I can't sleep because I'm too stressed because of the aforementioned suckage.

To not go into too much detail but sum it up in a nutshell: last Thursday, the epitome of suckage, I came home to a phone message that had me peering in the mirror intently to see if I had suddenly turned into the main character in one of my own books.

#10 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:25 AM:

I wonder if this guy has actually read this blog before. I can't conceive of him writing this letter if he had.

Since starting to read this blog I often find myself saying "And Teresa said..." only to have people stop me and ask who "Teresa" is. Then I have to quietly admit that, no, I don't actually know this person, I just read her blog.

That instinct to think of your blog-self as a friend might just stem from your ideal balance of sarcasm and friendliness.

I sort of wish he had tried that in the thread, so I could have attacked him...

In a far less efficient or witty manner.
Hehe.

#11 ::: John (B). ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:01 AM:

Tee hee hee... that was simply hilarious... and more than worth the (mild) chastisement I've received from my wife for reading this blog instead of getting my work done. Now if only the person concerned will be outraged enough by your response to write back another email for you to entertain everybody with...

Anyway, time for me to get back to work now. I'm glad to hear that you're starting to feel better.

#12 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:27 AM:

Y'know, this Yngve pindick was over at SciFiWeekly just two weeks ago, with the same mix of insults, condescension, and obvious ignorance. I knew his name was familiar:

http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue359/letters.html#sftv

Can you give us some perspective on how often something as frankly batshit as the "In Defense of Yngve" letter darkens your inbox? Is this something you and Patrick get on a monthly basis? Weekly? (Gulp) Daily?


#13 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 06:39 AM:

Oh my. Cripes. Dont I just wish.

But you just did! Not with the power inherent in you as Tor Editor, Almighty and Allpowerful :-) but with the power that results from being very much more intelligent than the person who has just written that arrogantly condescending letter. Which is his problem, not yours.

2004 has not been a good year so far. But this was good.

#14 ::: Trent Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:01 AM:

The letter to you did sound condescending, and the resultant impulse is wholly understandable. After all, Yngve wrote difficult material to swallow without raising hackles as he himself acknowledged, but I do think it's worthwhile to try to peer through the veil to see if he had made a point worth considering, and I thought he had. But maybe I was reading into his comments.

Although he "was deliberately provoking a reaction," I don't think he meant to offend any particular person, for he wrote:

"Good points, all. I'm preaching to the choir. :)"

However, I have a tendency to try to understand the unpopular and--if I can understand--to stick up for them.

#15 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:12 AM:

Teresa, you know full well no-one would put up with reading you blog if we weren't trying to suck up to you... and I have a full shrine to you and Patrick in my loft. Don't you realise, unless we sacrifice our pride, attention and first born children to your dark appetites, you'll not publish our perfect books, and instead keep pushing out that trash you pretend you like as part of your plan to bring down Western civilization? Or was that Western Union, I get confused.

But, as Mike's probably noticed, there do seem to be a lot of them out there recently, and a couple of old favourites have re-appeared in the RPG fora. It's either that new planet and the re-commissioning of Dr Who, I tells ya.

And Father Ted showed the proper attitude to times like this, with the time honoured phrase "A shower of bastards"

#16 ::: Trent Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:17 AM:

I always find your blogs worth reading, btw. It's great to have the insight of an editor. We probably don't thank you enough, so multiple thank-yous for not only posting them but also responding. You put a human face on publishing, and I'm sorry that people sometimes take advantage of that for abuse.

#17 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:24 AM:

"However, I have a tendency to try to understand the unpopular and--if I can understand--to stick up for them."

The temptation is to remark "don't sprain your shoulder patting yourself on the back." But that's a bit too mean.

There's nothing actually wrong, and plenty that's good, about an impulse to understand and defend the unpopular. The problem is that unpopularity, by itself, isn't a reliable marker for worthiness. If you really do use it as your compass for discerning what to "try to understand" and "stick up for," you'll wind up sticking up for some very bad people, at the expense of some people who actually deserve your support.

This is because sometimes individuals are "unpopular" because everybody else is being a shit, and sometimes they're "unpopular" because other people are exercising reasonable judgement. If you lump the two kinds of situations together indiscriminately, you'll get morally incoherent results.

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:32 AM:

"It's great to have the insight of an editor. We probably don't thank you enough, so multiple thank-yous for not only posting them but also responding. You put a human face on publishing"...

This might be a good place to remark that neither Making Light nor Electrolite were ever intended to be primarily the voice of An Editor.

Teresa and I have been committing this kind of writing on a regular basis for nearly thirty years. Back in the 1970s and 1980s it tended to be mimeographed onto fuzzy paper. More recently it's been more likely to be found on computer screens. The habit long predates our current day jobs.

We both write about aspects of those jobs. Teresa is particularly good at it. But if we were working as florists or cement-mixer operators, I suspect Teresa would write long and funny essays about nuances, ironies, and practical realities in the worlds of flower arranging or cement transportation. The point was never to be Joe Editor to the world of Aspiring Authors. The point was always to have interesting conversations with our friends--those whom we know, and those whom we don't know yet.

#19 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:35 AM:

Something I've never understood, in the eschatology espoused by people like this, is how they would deal with the following question: "if your books and the books your friends write are so good, and Tor only publish junk by other folks ... how come they don't go bust?"

There's an obvious answer: "the readers are idiots and keep buying the junk". (Yes, there are other answers -- but in my experience of writers who get hung-up on editor-bashing, that's the usual response.) Which leads naturally, via thesis and antithesis, to the logical synthesis: "then why are you obsessed with placing your masterpiece of deathless prose in front of an audience of idiots?"

#20 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:36 AM:

Just to be clear, I didn't say all that in order to gainsay Trent's kind words. It is indeed good that Teresa sometimes "puts a human face on publishing." I'm just, not for the first time, trying to get away from that externally-imposed context in which anything Patrick or Teresa say in public is taken as a chapter in the drama of Editors and Authors.

Our old friends know this so well that it doesn't even occur to them. What bothers me is that a lot of newer friends and acquaintances seem entirely locked into that drama, and the proscenium arch around it, with all its attendant constraints.

There's a Patrick O'Brian quote on my sidebar that's there for a reason.

#21 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:12 AM:

> or has the entire universe been unnaturally irritating lately?

Nope. Universe is the same. You're becoming a vicious, bitter old shrew, and nobody loves you. Go on out to the back yard and start eating worms.


In the particular case of this bit of bonehead-mail lodged in your inbox, consider that (A) since you're not dead, your own personal clue level is monotonicly increasing, and (B) as computers spread through the population, the average clue level of someone capable of tripping over your blog is decreasing. Ergo, it's neither that people are getting dumber, nor is it that you're metamorphosing into a harpy-- it's just that the technology to annoy you is becoming more available.


I don't see anything in the original note that looks like an explicit request for advice-- but I have a Y chromosome, and so (per Tannen) that means that when a woman mentions a problem, I immediately assume she's asking for a solution to it. Ergo, this advice is worth what you paid for it... There will always-- *always*-- be a segment of the population that you simply *cannot* explain yourself to. Even otherwise rational people can fall into this category. (Maybe their mothers were frightened by an editor when carrying them.) Eventually, you're going to have to stop trying to punch out the Tar Baby.

Now, this may have the unfortunate side effect that someone out there-- perhaps even many someones-- may become convinced you're so arrogant, you don't even bother to attempt to gently correct their misapprehensions. Well, bummer. Stress weakens the immune system, and you're not a kid any more. If nothing else, it must have taken a fair bit of time to think about and type in all the above. You could have been knitting instead. I happen to think knitting is nigh pointless, but at least if you'd gone with knitting, you'd have half a sock in hand, rather than a vague feeling that you're trying to be a nice person, and it isn't working, so maybe you're *not* a nice person. (For what little it's worth, you've always been nice to *me*. Given that I'm incredibly thorny, that's pretty clear evidence that you are not, in fact, a she-bitch from the eleventh pit of Hell.) (And, of course, if your teeth itched and you just needed to go into catharsis mode for a bit, that's cool, too.)

If need be, apply the crayon test. That is, look at incoming email, and ask yourself if you'd bother responding to it if it had shown up in your paper mailbox written in crayon. Some of it will still be respondable-- the stuff from first graders saying, "So what doex an editter do, anyway?"-- but some will clearly be written in crayon because the nurse doesn't allow the patient in #406 to have any sharp objects in the cell.


That being said, the excerpts from the bonehead-mail are intestesting-- in a clinical psychology / train wreck sort of way. One of the more peculiar dynamics in this culture is the notion of, "You're filth, but I could deign to love you anyway." (My favorite example is in Hitchcock's _Marnie_, where Sean Connery blackmails Tippi Hedren into marrying him, rapes her, criticizes the technique of her resulting suicide attempt, blah blah blah-- but only to *help* her, you see.) The litmus test to spot this is rapid variation from praise to condemnation. [1] The last sentence quoted is a classic example-- saying *in the same breath* that you're a good writer and you're powerful, but that you're a bitch as well. (Note in particular the use of the term "catfight"-- again, per Tannen, one of those words usually reserved for putting down women.)


[1] Of course, when *I* do it, I'm just being affectionately brusque. Yeah, that's the ticket. You can *trust* me. I'm one of the *good* ones. (Have I already mentioned my theory that the Neandertals went extinct because Neandertal women were too smart to buy the lines men handed them? By the time Cro-Magnon women figured out they were being handed a line of hooey, they were already pregnant. This is also why modern men look for youth in a mate, and virginity has the cachet it does-- what we're really looking for is someone inexperienced enough to actually *believe* us when we say, "Of course I'll respect you in the morning.")

#22 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:21 AM:

This fellow sounds vaguely familiar.

#23 ::: Jazz ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:30 AM:

Patrick:

[S]ometimes individuals are "unpopular" because everybody else is being a shit, and sometimes they're "unpopular" because other people are exercising reasonable judgement. If you lump the two kinds of situations together indiscriminately, you'll get morally incoherent results.

You just made my week.

With your leave, I am copying this into a large, legible bold font, possibly something like Caslon, and printing it on the largest format paper I can conveniently find, to live in a place of honor on my bulletin board.

#24 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:33 AM:

"If need be, apply the crayon test. That is, look at incoming email, and ask yourself if you'd bother responding to it if it had shown up in your paper mailbox written in crayon."

I like this a bunch, and will begin stealing it immediately.

#25 ::: Amy Hostler ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:35 AM:

i'd like to say that i enjoyed your (Teresa's) use of the neologism "triffically". It adds a great sci-fi feel to your posting, as if your correspondent was imagining you were as powerful as a Triffle. Weren't there Triffles or Truffles or something in a Vonnegut novel?

#26 ::: Trent Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:52 AM:

Hi, Patrick,

"The temptation is to remark 'don't sprain your shoulder patting yourself on the back.' But that's a bit too mean. "

In my experience of "real life" as opposed to "theoretical life," defending the unpopular is not automatically viewed as a good thing. Perhaps you are right that some of the unpopular should not be defended. The comment was meant to explain that my response may be best viewed as a gut reaction instead of a defence of at all costs--"if I can understand them" being the operative phrase.

Regarding the pressure people put on you as human beings due to your editorial positions, no additional pressure was meant. I happen to enjoy literary discourse over other kinds. I appreciate y'all's political dedication as well, which I follow, but I am a little more conflicted and slip into literary discourse more easily.

If you guys do decide to quit the biz and become florists or cement-mixers or even a lowly research technicians like myself, I'll still mosey over here for literary chats. In fact, a group of us cement-mixers spend much time chatting about literary matters all over the spectrum at s1ngularity.blogspot.com, but it waxes and wanes. Very little political chatter, however.

Hope the illness has finished its course and your immune systems are better fortified. Take care.

#27 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:10 AM:

Amy -- is "triffically" a neologism, d'you think, or just phonetically rendered dialect?

I'm remembering an old Blackadder episode where they find a Turnip Shaped Like A Thingy, and Baldrick says, "A great big thingy. It was triffic."

Either way, I like it too.

#28 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:12 AM:

Some random thoughts.

I don't read and/or reply to these blogs as anything to do with the publishing business. I've enjoyed Patrick and Teresa's commentary since the glory days of Usenet (that would be the early 90's for me; your mileage may of course vary).

When I saw Yngve's posts over at Electrolite, the first thing I was reminded of was some unfortunate posturings that I made in public fora during my misspent youth. My thought at the time was, "Oh dear; I hope I wasn't this insufferable back then, and I hope Yngve gains a bit of insight by the time he reaches my age."

And then another post of Yngve's made reference to the fact that he is my age. Oh double dear.

Finally, on the perversity of the Universe: I just took my car for its annual wash on Sunday, figuring that there couldn't possibly be any more snow in New Jersey this season. Didn't take me long to be proven wrong, did it?

I've long since given up on the submitting manuscripts thing, but I wouldn't mind if someone were to offer me a job in Manhattan. This week's weather is yet another reminder of why trains are preferable to cars.

#29 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:15 AM:

Trent, I got that it was a "gut reaction." I have some of the same gut reaction myself. "Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."

I also have the experience of being attacked very nastily by strangers who claim justice because I'm allegedly "popular" and they're allegedly not. Remarkably enough, it feels much like any other variety of being attacked.

I think Teresa nailed it: we aren't responsible for what we do in other people's dreams. I'll own up to -- well, I hope I have the moral oomph to own up to -- responsibility to people I've actually hurt. That shouldn't be taken as blanket permission for any stranger to clock me just because they donned a T-shirt reading "victim."

For all that, I still like Dorothy Day better than Ayn Rand. Go figure.

#30 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:21 AM:

Amy wrote:
> Weren't there Triffles or Truffles or something in a Vonnegut novel?

Tralfamadorians. (Which I had to look up how to spell by typing "Vonnegut farting tap dancing" into Google. Actually, I'm somewhat surprised I didn't end up at a web page offering mp3s of a new-to-me sexual variation.)

And, to be a geek and list things because I can, there's also _Star Trek_'s "Tribbles," John Wyndham's "Triffids," and Larry Niven's "Trinocs."

#31 ::: Trent Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:29 AM:

Patrick,

I'm in 100% agreement.

(In fact, you've even tempted me to write: "Slaughter the bastards!" but I'll restrain my blood-letting impulses.)

#32 ::: John Y. ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:34 AM:

It's not just you. I've been immensely irritated by an awful lot of not very bright people lately. Somebody must have picked up a rock somewhere, and they all came a-scurryin' out.

I hate crap like this. Im just an editor. I work on books. Sometimes I buy them. Thats all.

I get some degree of that bizarre pedestal-placing myself, and all I do is run a crappy online 'zine. I can only imagine how irritating it must get for folks like you who edit real books that people will actually read.

#33 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:39 AM:

I've never found a fully reliable way to tell when I'm irritable and when the universe is messed up, but fwiw, I have been on oral steroids for breathing problems, and if these are of a similar sort, they can mess with one's emotions something fierce. (They can also have no effect at all--I know folks for whom this has been true, but it took me a long time to get onto an even keel again after using same.)

#34 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:54 AM:

Until this week, the year was pretty good, and then a tragic event, a couple of irritating events, and a pair of truly annoying academic occurances led to a truly miserable week. I hope everyone has a better time then they've been having.

Which reminds me: I estimate the chance of you, Patric, or both having met Mr. Peter Tauber at some point, in some capacity, to be about 60%. If you have, I'm truly sorry to inform you of his passing. If you haven't, well I'm sorry for being maudlin in this space.

#35 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:00 AM:

Rule number one: Don't feed trolls.

It just got what it wanted out of you. You have fed it.

#36 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:08 AM:

Yes, the universe has been unnaturally irritating recently. Having seen several "Waaah! I am so stressed and depressed that I need something cheerful to look at right now!" LJ posts recently, I plan tonight to put together a handy-dandy reference list of links to point at in the future--for my own use too. Yuebing (new pictures!) will feature high on the list.

(Is squash soup something you can eat? Andrew Plotkin just posted a yummy-sounding recipe on raseff.)

I'll still be here when you stop acquiring, because I'm one of the few people I know with no desire or intention to write a novel.

And as much as I think a book about writing scams and the way publishing works would be useful and fascinating, I'd hate to see you have to out a pseudonym and lose that breathing space. So I shall not agitate for such a book.

Ummm. Anyway. *hugs* and my rambling self really ought to get back to the crap the universe has thrown onto my desk this week.

#37 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:22 AM:
This particular psychodrama is about him feeling like he doesnt have enough power, which usually means he either thinks Ive stolen his away, or that I simply have too much and will imminently squash him like the insect he is.
Cripes. Dont I just wish.

You know, it speaks pretty well of you that years of running into this sort of thing haven’t turned you (and the other editors who also have to put up with it) into the sort of bitter, sadistic goblin these people seem to think all editors are.

#38 ::: Tamara Siler Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:24 AM:

Teresa,

Glad to see you back on the blog. I've missed seeing new entries this past week or so and I hope that you and Patrick are on the mend and feeling much better overall. Viruses suck and not in a good way.

You probably don't remember meeting me at World Fantasy last fall (that's cool, truly - was a busy convention) but I must say that I found both you and Patrick to be friendly and conversational, as were most of the editors, agents and fellow writers I met. But I did notice that "Ye Folks Of Power" in the biz were often innundated by people wanting to pitch their stuff, get permission to submit, question as to why you had rejected them or to complain (or rave) about a story on your list. I assumed that you typically had to endure such things at conventions as well as via email and snail mail while at work, but to have it come to you because your personal blog... Good gracious, what's happened to manners?

Even if you do hold a writer's publishing future in your hands, you do have a right to your own opinions afterall, even in regards to your work. Surely most people realize this.

I found his letter to be condescending and sexist. If Patrick had made the "idiot" comment would he have received such a mean-spirited and sarcastic reply? I doubt it, but there is no way to know.

As for the is it just me question, I don't think so. This past 6 months or so have seemed to be overly mean-spirited and venomous everywhere, online and in real life. Perhaps it is the 10th planet, perhaps the election year, perhaps the economy, perhaps everyone's underwear has shrank in the wash and is lightly crushing their personals.

I think it's Britney Spears overload. The girl is EVERYWHERE! We can only take so much bright smiles and perfect skin before we all crack under the pressure!

lol

Here's hoping all your emails today are cheerful!

#39 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:28 AM:

I think it's Britney Spears overload.

I blame Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

Not only was it a positively absurd kerfuffle, it meant that nobody was talking about the Patriots *winning*!

Grr.

#40 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:31 AM:

Phil --

It is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals that their maxims have a plausible air; and, on a cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin; and about as valuable. They serve equally the first capacities and the lowest; and they are, at least, as useful to the worst men as to the best. Of this stamp is the cant of not man, but measures; a sort of charm by which many people get loose from every honourable engagement.
        -- Edmund Burke

(This being the attributable quotation, rather than all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.)

No matter who is doing the throwing, you're allowed to decide is has meaning when someone throws shit at your head. The practise of mistaking throwing shit at people's heads for a form of social interaction is an evil worth opposing.

The practise of insisting that the wight doing the shit-hurling must be a person of countenance, repute, and stature before one might legitimately feel bruised may not be, of itself, evil, but it surely and surely enough serves evil things. Defence of person is not a privilege; the expectation of courtesy is not unreasonable.

Teresa is far the kinder person than I; she has wistful thoughts about pygmy mammoths and zeppelin mooring masts, when what I have often wanted was a displacer capable of human-mass 'pluck' operations and a big tank of spike toothed, knob-jawed, strong-necked rippy fish, that could bate and swell and grow fierce and fat on a diet of trolls.

Conversation is not a trivial thing; peace, the presumption of good will, the relaxed expectation of courtesy, these are all civilization. If you can have these things, there might be accomplished what no power on Earth could hope to compell; if there are not these things, there is only force and the threat of force, the disdain for common purpose, common benefit, and the fine old virtue of generosity.

That the troll has not wit enough to be quite sure what it is trying to rend apart is no reason not to set the spear-blade in it.

#41 ::: Elizabeth Bear ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:31 AM:

I'd be tempted to chalk this kind of yahooism up to those nasty nasty entitlement gnomes again: as we all know, The Publishing Industry Is Out To Stomp Talented New Writers And The Establishment is Keeping Me Down, Man. (And Furthermore, I Deserve Your Undivided Attention, Help, And Encouragement.)

(I've actually gotten notes from persons with whom I had had some vague and, I thought, helpful online contact telling me that I should have done a better job for them, because I'm 'a pro.' First of all, I'm about as far down the 'pro' food chain as you can get (OMG! I'm a SFWA member too! Where are my privileges?!) but second of all and perhaps more importantly, there is a class of people to whom the idea that the correct response to someone doing you a favor is "thank you," not "that wasn't a good enough favor."

I'm tempted to blame society. Or perhaps the parents. But [obscure The Sibling Society joke] I think I'll settle on Robert Bly, because he's not here to defend himself.... [/obscure The Sibling Society joke]

In any case, your erudite irritation lightened *my* morning, so your work here is done. *g*

#42 ::: Kellie ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:37 AM:

It's not you. The Higher Power is just feeling snarky.

Last week, my mother was in town. It was the best visit we've had since college. All the weird tension that's been bogging us down was finally gone. I even cried when she left. And then I went back to work to find out I've been laid off.

2004 pissed me off in January, depressed me in February, tried my patience mightily for most of March, and now it makes me laugh. Then again, no one I'm aware of has put me up on such a pedestal that I would have to be concerned about hurting them if I decide to call someone who deliberately provoked anger while he preached to the choir an idiot. 2004 might not be so blackly humorous were that the case.

#43 ::: Grant Barrett ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:44 AM:

The usual example of this I cite is the white guy who comes busting into a well-established discussion of (say) colonial policies in North America, yelling at self-indulgent length about how were callously ignoring the fact that the indigenous peoples were genocidally dispossessed of their lands.

This is what Rushdie, in his essay "Notes on Writing and the Nation," calls "New Behalfism." He writes:

Beware the writer who sets himself or herself up as the voice of a nation. This includes nations of race, gender, sexual orientation, elective affinity. This is the New Behalfism. Beware behalfies!

The New behalfism demands uplift, accentuates the positive, offers stirring moral instructions. It abhors the tragic sense of life. Seeing literature as inescapably political, it subtitutes political values for literary ones. It is the murderer of thought. Beware!

#44 ::: Zarina N Docken ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:47 AM:

"I must be getting old, I keep forgetting things."

A woman overheard me say this at the gym, and she left a note at the reception for me. She accused me of discrimination against old people.

See, you didn't have to use the word idiot. "Old" got me in trouble.

Thanks for visiting my site the other day. Since I don't write SF or Fantasy, be assured that I won't be pitching my work to you in the future.

Cheers.

#45 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:00 AM:

(I had a post lost here earlier, but it wasn't of vital importance.)

Anyway, yes, I've been living in a more annoying universe in the last few weeks. Have gotten unsolicited criticisms of my stories like, "You should have said X was male earlier on!" (X was female and used the feminine pronoun consistently throughout) and "I didn't like the aliens. The aliens seemed gratuitous." (There. Were. No. Aliens. None. Not in the whole story, not even funny-looking humans.) Have also noticed gratuitous spilling of beverages, bruising of shins, etc.

Sorry it's not just me.

#46 ::: Holly ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:03 AM:

The "Is it just me?" question reminded me of a cartoon I saw once; I think it was a Hallmark card. It was a picture of one car parked on top of another, and the caption said, "You may be suffering from PMS if people seem to be doing little things just to annoy you."

Patrick, Teresa, others: perhaps the salient point to remember here is, "Only those who DO things get criticized." I can't remember who said that.

I enjoyed the venting, too.

#47 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:08 AM:

Have a nice cup of chamomile tea, take some deep breaths, and have Patrick give you a shoulder massage.

That said... you could probably have skewered your correspondent nicely at a fifth the length and a tenth the time and energy.

#48 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:10 AM:

I've been wicked irritable myself lately, and I don't have steroids as an excuse. So I definitely think it's the universe.

(By the way, there's a "which" missing in the third sentence of the second paragraph, after "steroids.")

This chap, whoever he is, actually makes me think slightly more kindly of Yngve, who (despite other issues) didn't cop this kind of whiny attitude.

Rikibeth, I think you're correct and "triffic" is some variety of British English dialect, based on prior encounters with it.

#49 ::: Edward Liu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Howdy,

You guys know that sci-fi cliche about the time traveler from an ugly, dystopian, or even just unpleasant future who goes back in time to change one event, resulting in a shinier, happier future?

I think we're in the bad timeline now. Someone go build a time machine. The event that needs to change is left as an exercise for the reader.

-- Ed

#50 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:16 AM:

It's been the world, T, not you. Things may be changing. Let's hope so, and that it's not just another set-up.

Watching you deconstruct such a missive is totally fascinating. It's a really good example of setting boundaries and not letting someone cross them. I learn a lot from you.

#51 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 11:45 AM:

Gosh! What kind of prescience is assumed here? After all, I've known you for darned near thirty years, and have always enjoyed your company. I've enjoyed Patrick's company since I first met him. I don't write. But, according to this guy, I've been playing toady to you for thirty years getting ready to try to cozen you into buying that book I'm going to write any day (year? decade?) now. Who knew that I was so foresighted?

#52 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:00 PM:

Teresa, it's not just you. Spring arrived early and it is quite beautiful here, and I got back from annual retreat less than a month ago. But I have just been too tired of it all and have been difficult to live with at times. Even more than usual . . .

I am so glad you are feeling better, and greatly appreciate your demonstration of how to debone a jerk without a knife.

For all that, I still like Dorothy Day better than Ayn Rand. Go figure.

Actually, Patrick, after reading your blog for a while now it is not hard to figure at all . . .

#53 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:07 PM:

Elizabeth B: I think you have a point there. Entitlement gnomes. Mind if I borrow that?

My own irritability moment came when, working retail during Christmas season, a customer had a stroke. And other customers all but stepped over her with their demands. The employee pulled aside to make sure the poor woman didn't get hurt any worse before the paramedics arrived was harassed at several points with questions about where to find what movie. Being a graduate of the "people suck" school, she just smiled and explained that, due to a medical emergency, they would have to ask the other employee in the store (me).

Later, apparently, a complaint was lodged with the store that I called her female companion a nasty name having to do with her sexual orientation - a word I don't even use, unless I'm quoting someone.

Every time I think I'm used to how irritating people can be, I find another level.

As for steroids, yes, they can certainly make you irritable. I have bouts of labyrinthitis which requires a steriod regimen. The last time I was treated, I found myself thinking it perfectly reasonable to kick the wall in because there was no milk.

Put the increasing sense of entitlement humanity seems to be learning along with that irritability, however, and you end up frightening your spouse.

Not that that's anything new for me.

#54 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:23 PM:

Teresa -

Not that you need my support, but I feel you dealt with Yngve in a rather reasonable way. Your response to the silly doofus who wrote the "In Defense" letter was great.

And I am not a writer, and in fact began reading this blog and attendent discussion threads because of the intelligence and wit of the commentary, not because I am sucking up in hopes of being published.(?!)

As for things sucking more lately, I am inclined to believe it's not drugs; I was laid off last month, and had nearly gotten over the shock and depression (which was helped by my cello teacher volunteering freebies) and this week, my apartment manager tells me that playing musical instruments is forbidden. *sigh* Can't find a job, can't play the cello, can't move out.

#55 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:24 PM:
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

--Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent. Vol. i. p. 526.

#56 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:29 PM:

Ed Liu-

I think the key event was a certain decision of the Supreme Court four years ago. Unfortunately, my flux capacitor is broken.

#57 ::: Ronald Montgomery ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:30 PM:

Reading stuff like this is really helpful. One, it articulates those feelings I've had about others but could never flesh out for my own understanding. I work with a guy just like this character. Reading this was like "Oh...yeah!"
Two, it helps me to avoid that same rude behavior.
I guess number two is the far more important thing.
Thanks.

#58 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:38 PM:

Oh, sure, blame the steroids. I happen to like my steroids, and if they happen to add a little cranky edginess to my character, so be it.

#59 ::: paperclypsey ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 12:47 PM:

good lord!
i've been visited by Yngve too!
I had no idea he was such a lightning rod...

#60 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:02 PM:

Theresa,

This past New Year's, reunited with friends whom I hadn't seen in literally years, we all agreed that we (as individuals, collectively and globally) all deserved a better year.

I'm glad that you're feeling better physically. Nothing is more bewildering than having your own autonomic functioning go on the fritz.

I know it's not my place to offer advice to a total stranger. That said, here goes. Let it go. Your analysis of the critical email was completely accurate, and I hope it was cathartic.

And yes, I know that's easier said than done. A couple of years ago, I had a run-in with a psycho doctor at Stanford Medical Center. She insisted that I was "morbidly obese", needed to lose "at least 100 pounds," and that my ideal body weight was 130 pounds. I'm 6' and weigh 230. But, I still get angry when I think of this incident. (Needless to say, I raised a stink and found a better doctor who has nothing to do with Stanford.)

By the way, you dealt with Yngve in an extraordinarily even-handed way.

#61 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:03 PM:

What a hoot -- the Big Bad Editor Must Not Use Negative Words.

This guy tippy-toes sinuously through a tangle of suppositions and fantasies that make you wonder just what universe he lives in .

#62 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:12 PM:

Steroids can make one irritable, but so can stupid jerks. Them's the breaks.

Also, for moron-boy or people of similar moron tendency who might be perusing this right now: I don't read this 'blog because Teresa is an editor. I read this 'blog because people I know kept pointing to it or quoting it and it sounded interesting. The fact that Teresa's an editor just means there are certain topics of interest we have in common, automatic-like.

Also, if I were trying to suck up to anyone, I imagine I failed a couple weeks ago over in Electrolite. ;)

#63 ::: colleen lindsay ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:12 PM:

This might be a good place to remark that neither Making Light nor Electrolite were ever intended to be primarily the voice of An Editor...We both write about aspects of those jobs. Teresa is particularly good at it. But if we were working as florists or cement-mixer operators, I suspect Teresa would write long and funny essays about nuances, ironies, and practical realities in the worlds of flower arranging or cement transportation. The point was never to be Joe Editor to the world of Aspiring Authors. The point was always to have interesting conversations with our friends--those whom we know, and those whom we don't know yet.

Patrick & Teresa --

I think your last sentence above is entirely on point -- As a frequent reader of both yours & Teresa's blogs, I'm reading because you both have unique voices, sometimes very funny commentary and are addressing issues that I am also concerned with much of the time. I also enjoy seeing Teresa occasionally delving into the hilarious misadventures of working in the publishing industry [as I do]. But I always think of these posts as her PERSONAL opinion, not Teresa-as-voice-of-Tor.

God knows, if anyone ever reads my own wee and not nearly-as-entertaining-blog and saw the rants I sometimes post about having a bad day at work,or recounting the ridiculousness of certain situations that probably everyone in publishing has encountered at one time or another, I certainly would hope those folks don't think that I am speaking on behalf of all Del Rey.

I agree with Teresa that the letter writer had no business sending her that letter, indeed it was highly presumptuous to think that he or she had the right to do so.

My two cents...

#64 ::: Denny ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:30 PM:

Priceless. Thanks for opening the window on that one...it was incredibly entertaining.

#65 ::: Ayse Sercan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:32 PM:

I think it's the weather over there.

Over here in California, we're in our second week of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and everything seems so much better. I'm also in a glow of joy because I got into a prestigious graduate school, and my house is almost completely repainted (its first repainting since 1958). My creative fires have been burning hot lately, and that always helps. Somehow, when I'm in that "is the whole world in pain like me?" mood, knowing that it's not true for everybody helps immeasurably.

I've also had adverse emotional reactions to steriods. Some violent, some depressive, some just wallowing misery. Never anything . Why can't they come up with a steriod that will infuse you with a warm, happy glow while it makes it possible for you to maintain important functions like breathing or a heartbeat?

#66 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 01:45 PM:

Kate - You want funny and/or cheerful? I can help with that...

List o' links

Sorry - when someone wishes for humor sites, I start proselytizing.

As for 2004, I've noticed a lot of irritability in most of the people around me, as well as a certain amount of fatalism. Everybody's depressed, really, and it's not hard to see why. (I can't tell much personal difference per se, as I've always been irritable, fatalistic, and depressed.)

When all else fails, I either pull out my Reduced Shakespeare Company radio tapes, or Tom Lehrer.

Teresa, there's a lot of people out here in Internetland who love your blog and don't care if you're an editor or a travelling llama salesman.

#67 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:09 PM:

I've actually gotten notes from persons with whom I had had some vague and, I thought, helpful online contact telling me that I should have done a better job for them, because I'm 'a pro.'

Pros get paid for their work. If these people are confused as to the nature of your obligation toward them, perhaps a rate sheet would clarify matters.

Professional assistance............$mega/hour
Favours, helpful advice, etc.*...1 'thank you'

--
*grains of salt to be supplied by recipient, as necessary.

#68 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:25 PM:

I hestitate to raise this topic, as I know very little about the science, but this just crossed my RSS aggregator:

Carbs crank up serotonin

#69 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:27 PM:

You know, I look over this post and all the responses here and I think it sure is ironic that you can all be so moral when your whole culture is built on the suffering of America's indigenous peoples. Brave valiant people who were exploited by foreign invaders in a more ruthless example of genocide than has ever heretofore been exhibited in this contemptible bit of planetary mass floating in the great godless cosmic puddle of endless runon sentence follows here.

#70 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:38 PM:

sorry I couldn't resist.

have you considered that the letter may have been a solicitation attempt, you know, if you liked my letter you'll love my three-volume epic about the Elders of RuneLands?

#71 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:43 PM:

Ayse, I'd buy your explanation about weather if I weren't in California myself. I'm going to have to vote for the "just got into graduate school glow", and congratulations. :)

#72 ::: Laurel Amberdine ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Teresa,

FWIW, whenever you wind up retiring, I might (I hope) be able to participate like a sane person in comments and such. Now, as soon as I begins typing my crazy-writer-mind starts up: Oh my God, what are you doing with that COMMA! Don't you realize SHE'S AN EDITOR!!!

Yeah, right. What am I saying? I don't think crazy-writer-mind ever gives up. Blurgh. It's very tiring.

#73 ::: Melanie Fletcher ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:03 PM:

In a rather dark sort of way, it's pleasant to find people who have the "you have to kiss editors' asses in order to get published" mindset. When they piss off the editors with their slurping, their MS goes in the round file, and there's one less person ahead of me in the slush pile.

#74 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:25 PM:

No one ever thinks they have to kiss my ass. I'm feeling disempowered. My poor little entitlement gnome is all wan and sickly.

Maybe sugar water would help. Or a golden retriever puppy.

#75 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:29 PM:

Golden retriever puppies are the cutest things known to humans.

They are also gigantic pains in the neck, but as long as someone else raises them and I just get to see the pictures--no problem.

#76 ::: Will Parker ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:33 PM:

As far as I can see after reviewing all the relevant documents, it looks like the core of all your problems is this -- you have persistently refused to include the following phrase, set in a 40-pt sans serif font and colored bright red, at the top of your blog:

Yngve is a louse!!

That may satisfy the vast horde of Yngve supporters.

Personally, I have looked -- briefly -- at Mr. Yngve's novels, and I think including the aforesaid phrase is the least you can do for the man.

#77 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:34 PM:

Jimcat: When I saw Yngve's posts over at Electrolite, the first thing I was reminded of was some unfortunate posturings that I made in public fora during my misspent youth.

Yeah...I can only wonder how any number of people put up with me when I first ventured onto fidonet. I think at one point I was the only? teenage? female? (in Korea?) on the military history fidonet conference. And other conferences with kind, intelligent people who taught me manners (or tried; any fault in etiquette is all mine).

Thank you for sharing, despite the elevated blood pressure.

And, er, maybe I should swear off writing fiction and turn to doggerel, so as to decrease any probability of kissing up?

There was a poetaster named Yoon
with less wit than your average babboon.
She spammed others' blogs
(although not with eclogues)
and we hope she'll be disemvowelled soon.

(One of the few advantages of a Korean name is the plenitude of rhymes for "Yoon"!)

;-)

#78 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 03:47 PM:

ARGH! Make that "baboon." More proof that the little one is eating my brains. Or maybe poetasters are required to misspell one word per post?

#79 ::: JMKagan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:03 PM:

Is it me --- or does that e-mail bear several stylistic similarities to Yngve's posts? I grant you I've only a small sample of either writer's prose to go on---but, having come across similar ploys in other on-line contexts, I'm thinking the seals here and over on Patrick's island have only ONE ball to play with.

[To see what I mean, read the e-mail without Teresa's intervening comments....]

*Bounce!*

#80 ::: Ab_Normal ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:05 PM:

Tiercel: Alas, when I listen to Tom Lehrer I start thinking, "He wrote this 40 years ago and this shit is still going on?" and I get even more depressed. :(

#81 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:11 PM:

Yoon --

One of the proofs that the folks on the KDE project are My Kind of People is that for the KDE browser, Konqueror, they put in a capability for automatic spell checking in comment boxes.

Sometimes, I can even figure out why that word just turned red all by myself.

#82 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:16 PM:

Ab_normal -

I actually find that comforting, in a rather strange way. At least things aren't getting any worse, I tell myself. Criminals and morons have always been in positions of power, and probably always will be, so I may as well laugh about it.

Alternatively, you can stick with nonpolitical ditties like "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," which is delightfully sick in a completely different way.

#83 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:41 PM:

Patrick: We both write about aspects of those jobs. Teresa is particularly good at it. But if we were working as florists or cement-mixer operators, I suspect Teresa would write long and funny essays about nuances, ironies, and practical realities in the worlds of flower arranging or cement transportation.

When people ask me why I blog, I tell them it's because I sit all day at an Internet-connected computer. If I worked on an industrial drill-press, I'd probably drill holes in things at random moments to take a break from work.

I stole that explanation from the excelelent blog Entirely Other Day, regrettably defunct.

#84 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:48 PM:

JMK - strangely, a similar thought occurred to me while reading Teresa's post -- what if the letter was written by Yngve himself, in a veiled attempt to stand up for himself, making it look like he was treated so unfairly, some stranger, even, stepped in for him.

But then, I'm always skeptical about people I meet online. I know I take on a more outgoing persona, so much so that I could meet someone in person that knew me online, and they would probably never make the connection, until they heard the name (I'm 95% confident there's only one Alice Keezer in America).

My skepticism has stretched to the point where I doubt a significant other's existence online until I've seen both parties, physically, in a room together.

#85 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 04:56 PM:
Is it me --- or does that e-mail bear several stylistic similarities to Yngve's posts? I grant you I've only a small sample of either writer's prose to go on---but, having come across similar ploys in other on-line contexts, I'm thinking the seals here and over on Patrick's island have only ONE ball to play with.

Maybe my stylistic differentiator needs recalibration, but to me the e-mail doesn't sound that similar to Yngve's posts. For one thing, Yngve seems cheerfully oblivious to the tones of reactions to him.

#86 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:09 PM:

Some days I am frightfully glad that I lack the writer-nature, or at least the desire-to-be-published-nature.

#87 ::: Seth Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:16 PM:

As a frequent reader and occasional delurker, I have to say that intelligent, articulate crankiness is vastly more entertaining, informative, and generally good than the timid politesse that Mr. Writer is calling for. As an aspiring writer, I say the same thing. (Granted, I only write short stories, and I have no intention of giving up my day job, which I quite like; I doubt the Nielsen Haydens have any direct power over my prospective "career," such as it is, even if they wanted and cared enough to exercise it. I suppose they could badmouth me to magazine editors at parties, but I don't know why they'd bother.)

The only responsibility anyone who writes in public has to their audience is to express themselves as well as possible, and to stand behind what they say. This is why Making Light and Electrolite are so good to read. Tenderness towards the feelings of potential readers who may happen by your blog someday is nice, but -- well, actually, it just turns the whole exercise of writing into a waste of everyone's time, which isn't really nice at all.

And not only is the world irritating, but it's been raining all week.

#88 ::: sean ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:42 PM:

Teresa and Patrick: You two are going to have to get sick a lot more often if it leads to posts and threads like this one! Your public demands it.

TNH, you nailed it with the "I have the same business anyone else has, and I have no time for people who appoint me to strange roles in their rich inner fantasy lives. Im not responsible for whatever it is I do in their dreams."

And PNH, the whole thing about the knee-jerk temptation to afflict the unafflicted and unafflict the afflicted-- genius. That sums up my personality in one sentence, I'm sad to say.

If you could fit a line in about being a hypocrite, you'd have me in a nutshell. Oh, but wait, this isn't about me. Maybe throw in a line about self-centerdness for good measure.

#89 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 05:53 PM:

I occasionally catch flak from people who dont feel up to confronting Patrick.

Well, that made the eyebrow go up.

Actually, people occasionally ignore me in deference to my husband if it's a Complicated Matter which demands the attention of The Spouse in Authority (sometimes in person, which I find really counterintuitive)

If it's a waitron unit, I always give them my credit card at the end of the meal, just to see their face.

Ironically, I tip better than he does.

The "Is it just me?" question reminded me of a cartoon I saw once; I think it was a Hallmark card. It was a picture of one car parked on top of another, and the caption said, "You may be suffering from PMS if people seem to be doing little things just to annoy you."

Actually, that sounds about right.

#90 ::: Dave Owen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 06:06 PM:

Now, I don't know you from Adam, nor you I, but I'll start sucking up to you if it means you'll keep posting hilarious stuff like this.

(adding URL to bookmarks)

#91 ::: Dave Owen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 06:08 PM:

Did I just really type "nor you I" in a comment to an editor? Thank goodness I'm not a professional writer.

#92 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 06:14 PM:

You know, I read through this whole damn comment thread hoping that the Lord High Yngve Defender would drop by and leave a defensive, supercilious comment explaining how much better he was than thee and me, but no... all I get is a bunch of reasonable people saying kind, sensible things. Bah.

And me, I comment here exclusively to suck up. One of these days you'll be seeing Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon, by Language Hat, on the Tor list, and then you'll all be sorry! All of you! Uh, what was I saying before I was interrupted by megalomania? Oh yes: it's not you. History has its peaks and troughs, and this is definitely one of the troughs. My late father-in-law used to say, whenever anyone complained about Joe McCarthy or other evils, "Just wait ten years." I wish I thought ten years would be enough...

#93 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 06:36 PM:

" or has the entire universe been unnaturally irritating lately?"

Literally. I just moved, and all my stuff is full of allergenic dust. Two hours cleaning out a keyboard, good grief.

Sympathies on the ER visit.

#94 ::: Laurel Amberdine ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:00 PM:

Dave Owen: Did I just really type "nor you I" in a comment to an editor? Thank goodness I'm not a professional writer.

Arrrgh! Of course I only spotted my typo hours after I posted. That's how it always goes.

It's a mis-edit, actually, from writing and re-writing the same trivial, pointless thing until I can't see it anymore. If I didn't get so anxious, I wouldn't make these stupid mistakes, and if I didn't make these stupid mistakes I wouldn't get so anxious.

A cover letter cripples me for a full week. It's pathetic.

Off to do some deep breathing.

#95 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 07:19 PM:

Gosh, I've not posted a suck-up note in a while. What've I been thinking? If I fall behind on my suck-up points count, big powerful scary intimidating Teresa might not accept my novel. Not that I have a novel. But she might not buy my novel if I were ever to actually write one. Which I won't, of course, because my brain can't carry a story longer than 6000 words. And even if I did, the novel would almost surely be the totally wrong genre for Tor. But still. You know. Must suck up. Just in case. Hence my presence here. Totally for the sucking-upping. Nothing to do with my own enjoyment. Nope. Not at all.

#96 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:20 PM:

(damn. FranW's sucking up more gooder'n me.)

Teresa, you can play with my Legos and my trumpet, if you want.

#97 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:43 PM:

Sean - Patrick and Teresa are

And I'm not sucking up when I call them geniuses, just stating fact.

They're also expert ballroom dancers, biochemists, impressionist painters, commercial photographers (portraits a specialty) and they invented the reciprocating engine.

Okay, I was sucking up for that part.

#98 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 08:44 PM:

Large animal veterinarians. I forgot to mention that.

#99 ::: jane yolen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:19 PM:

Oh, that poor deluded dear.

If ass-kissing and sucking-up worked...hey, I'd have more than my 250 books published. Today I got 6 rejections, all but two from editors I have worked with before. Books, not stories.

Patrick, whom I love, and who with T has stayed in my house and eaten my food has turned down stories of mine. Sigh. Ditto Sheila Williams at Asimov's. Ditto just about any editor I know.

This person does NOT live in the real world. Or at least in the real publishing world. Editors are people who love books or love books they know they can sell or a combination thereof.

Go, T!

Jane

#100 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 09:55 PM:

Language (I think by now I may call you Language), the trouble with your book coming out is that the -New York Times- will, for reasons we all know, be forced to refer to you as Mr. Hat (or possibly Ms. Hat, I've lost track among the digits), which, if not quite so eye-bending as their (actual) reference to Iggy Pop as "Mr. Pop," is certainly a stopper.

Perhaps a pseud, such as "Headgear Casey," or "Anatole de Motic," would be in order. "Lingua Francaberet" would probably give the game away, even to -Entertainment Weekly.-

I was about to start on the inevitable sequels to "Purple Priestess," but one nods in only so far before risking one's forelock.

#101 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:01 PM:

BTW, I've put together a quick first pass at a Cheerful Things list; highly idiosyncratic, purely out of my own bookmarks (and one suggestion from Chad) for now, and quite silly, but maybe helpful to some.

Other suggestions welcomed, preferably over there where I can more easily keep track.

#102 ::: Ogre-Eyed ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:23 PM:

>I think we're in the bad timeline now. Someone go build a time machine. The event that needs to change is left as an exercise for the reader.

This would prove unwise, as it would create a dystopian Orwellian world-state where I ruled over brainwashed masses as Big Brother, issuing my proclamations from 1000-ft high video screens. I would live in a gargantuan neo-Gothic surrealist palace, decorated with Art Deco and velvet Elvis portraits, and surrounded by legions of uniformed and uninformed syncophants who sang, on the hour, the "Big Brother Is Great" song to the tune of "Mule Train".

If science-fiction has taught us anything, it's that time travel results in nightmarish futures ruled by eccentric overlords (or dinosaurs, one or the other) and so must be avoided.

I've concluded that writers are, by their very nature, insane. I think the brain acts like a digestive system...information comes in, and digested excrement comes out. Most people have natural release valves for this mental excrement, such as talking, singing, etc. Writers, however, suffer a genetic defect or an evolutionary mutation that renders them unable to safely release mental excrement. So, therefore, they are compelled to dump it out onto the page. As a side effect of this condition, their brains are often unbalanced.

So, therefore, the sane writer is the exception.

#103 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:23 PM:

You suck. Publish my book. Now.

Alex

#104 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean Durocher ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2004, 10:41 PM:

It's not you. My husband reports that you're a very pleasant correspondent, and he's a good judge on such matters.

It _might_ be the drugs...

But I'd like to put significant amounts of it at the feet of the white house resident. After 9/11, he discovered that people seemed to think he was a real president if they were scared, and he, and his administration have since done all they can to make sure people continue to be scared. People living in an atmosphere like this, even if they're brave and sensible, suffer from stress.

I'm sure this isn't everything that's going on - but it is on my list of top ten reasons to vote for someone, d**n near anyone, else.

#105 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 12:13 AM:

I occasionally catch flak from people who dont feel up to confronting Patrick.

In the pause for laughter this hard-hearted filk just leapt up and I can't get it out of my brame.

Patrick's teeth are sharp,
Teresa's teeth are sharper.
Carp at her: she'll serve filet of carper.

Well actually only the first two lines leapt, so I had to grind out a rhyme. Hope it doesn't suck too much. Sir or madam, will you pub my filk....

#106 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 12:45 AM:

Bringing us back to "The War Song of Dinas Vaur" again

Patrick's teeth are sharp
But Teresa's teeth are sharper
We therefore deemed it meeter
To be filleted by the latter....

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 12:49 AM:

I can see it now: Teresa the Gweat and Tewwible, installed on her diamond-encrusted golden throne in the marble-floored, lapis-lazuli-pillared office (the one with "Teresa I, Editrix Reginaque Tori" gold-leafed on its black-oak, iron-bound door): in her right hand, the Flail Of Grammar; in her left, the Crook Of Rejection. With the latter, she points at the emaciated, helpless figure of Yngve as it cowers rag-clad on the floor, and, eyes glowing green and voice reverberating four octaves below middle C, pronounces the damning single word: "Idiot!"

He screams in agony and despair as his fingers wither, blacken, and drop off one by one to lie smoldering on the floor; he'll never write again. The rest of us (courtiers and sycophants all, of course) turn from him back to our quills and vellum as if his condition might be contagious by sight.

She is a harsh mistress, but fair. Herreignisjustandgenerous.

#108 ::: Barbara Brugger ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 02:45 AM:

It's not just you, as you have been assured by a group of people only slightly larger than the population of Boise.

Some people really ARE just idiots. The fact they are writers makes them not one whit less idiotish. And you are entitled, no matter what you do for a living, to say so.

That you can say so with such style is just the cherry on top.

#109 ::: Kate Salter ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 03:42 AM:

It's really not you Teresa, it's everywhere lately. My co-worker and I have been taking weird support calls all week where all of our rational explinations for the stupid FIX error messages fall on deaf ears.

That and they can't figure out how to fill the soada machine on our floor. It's had nothing but Fresca in it now for two weeks.

And my phone just rang again- 2 minutes before I'm supposed to go home, and as usual Manila has none of the information I need. *grumble*

#110 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 03:48 AM:

Hey Xopher: When was the last time I asked you to marry me?

MKK--giggling insanely

#111 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 05:00 AM:

Actually the books I've written are so good I don't really think I should just have to send them out to people, especially not to people lacking the requisite intelligence to understand them.
I had hoped to receive a slew of messages from highly developed psychic editors begging to publish my works of genius, but unfortunately it seems that my inferiors have managed yet again to disappoint me, luckily I am evolved with true genius in my sphincter so that I can accept the madness of others with a grain of rye.

And that is why I have finally caved in and started frequenting this site to do some craven toadying and ass-kissing, now..... how'm I doing?

#112 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 08:05 AM:

You think you catch this because you're an editor? Over on some message boards I've frequented, if you post coherently on two consecutive days you

1) Become an "old hand" on the board
2) Get half the folks on the board treating you like an expert and
3) Get the other half acting like you just tried to french kiss their mum in front of their dad... without paying.

Sadly, a consequence of telling your SO about 2 is that she starts asking you, if they like you so much, why won't they pay to read your stuff...

#113 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 08:07 AM:

Wait, Hold the phone....

The Patriots WON?!?

#114 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 08:31 AM:

Kate, for what it's worth, neither of us has been low-carbing for several weeks, so that can't be it.

(We do mean to go back on some kind of diet when both of us are not-sick.)

Mitch, it was Teresa who invented the reciprocating engine. I led the Allied invasion of Europe in June, 1944.

#115 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 08:47 AM:

Quoth Xopher:
Teresa I, Editrix Reginaque Tori

Hazelnut coffee. Through the nose. Ow ow ow.

(And any notions of sucking-up, had I ever entertained such, would have been long since dashed by the realization that about half my comments in the short time I've been coming here make me look like an idiot too. No, I'm just here for some good old-fashioned attention-seeking, I'm afraid. Though sycophantic toadying is of course its own reward.)

#116 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 09:02 AM:

Ab_normal wrote:

Tiercel: Alas, when I listen to Tom Lehrer I start thinking, "He wrote this 40 years ago and this shit is still going on?"

My father introduced me to popular folk, including the Main Street Singers' -- er, sorry, I mean the Kingston Trio's version of "Merry Minuet", around 1980. At the time he said, "listen to this, it's still true today". And, lo and behold, nearly a quarter century later, if I had a son of my own, I could tell him the same thing.

"And we know for certain that one lovely day,
Someone will set the spark off...
And we will all be blown away!"

Tiercel replied:

Alternatively, you can stick with nonpolitical ditties like "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," which is delightfully sick in a completely different way.

I've always been partial to "Three Game Wardens, Seven Hunters, and a Cow" or whatever the title of that one might be. It should have been the theme song for this year's New Jersey bear hunt.

#117 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 09:27 AM:

Ouch, no wonder I've received only rejections from Tor in the past. I didn't suck up.

How to remedy this? How, how, how? Woe is me. I am doomed to never be published unless I can find a course in sucking up.

Inspiration strikes! Of course, I'll start watching CNN!

#118 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 09:30 AM:

Jimcat -

You are the only person I have ever "met" outside of my immediate family who has even *heard* of the Merry Minuet! Wow! (I love that song. The Kingston Trio were my childhood heroes, which made all the other kids look at me kinda funny.)

The official title of the Tom Lehrer song you reference is "The Hunting Song," but your version is more memorable. I'm fond of that one as well. Also his brilliant rendition of Clementine, "a song with no recognizable merit whatsoever." Full lyrics, including patter for live versions, can be found here.

#119 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 09:31 AM:

And any notions of sucking-up, had I ever entertained such, would have been long since dashed by the realization that about half my comments in the short time I've been coming here make me look like an idiot too.

*nods* Sad but true. Hang around any blog for long enough, and you're doing well if only half of the comments you make make you look like an idiot. Me, I go for Spider Robinson's Second Law (or is it his Third? the First one is the one about "shared pain is halved, shared joy is doubled", and I have a feeling there's another one out there...) which states that "Everyone is an asshole, especially including me."

#120 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 09:56 AM:

Golden retriever puppies are the cutest things known to humans.

Nonsense. Nothing is as cute as a four week old kitten.

#121 ::: Kellie ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 10:20 AM:

Hang around any blog for long enough, and you're doing well if only half of the comments you make make you look like an idiot.

Damn, I wish someone would've told me that before I dove into the blogging world. I would've thought more about the concept of lurking. As it was, I had to learn the hard way.

As for sucking up, I better add my own barrage of ass-kissing to this thread before it becomes unfashionable. Or before other, more creative folks like Xopher decide to add their own.

Ahem.

Please, Teresa, come back to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold conference! Your presence was a Luxor-like beacon of light, outshining all the neon signs and flashing displays of the other experts! The click-click of your knitting needles was the perfect accompaniment to every talk! The red lead of your comments astounding! The, uh, the, hmmm, the humor of your Publishing World Lightbulb jokes too much to handle?

Man, I'm really not good at this.

#122 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 10:37 AM:

It may not matter whether you've been low-carbing--with the popularity of Atkins, the proportion of people who are low-carbing and/or dealing with people who are low-carbing is pretty high.

Another angle on irritability: there was a recent NPR piece (translation: I'm doing this from memory) about cytokenes (sp?)--it looks as though some people's immune systems react to infections in a way that causes depression and irritability. It seems as though a lot of people I know (perhaps a reasonable though not random sample) have been really sick lately. As I suggested about Atkins, if the proportion of irritable people goes up, this would have an effect on the general emotional tone.

One more hypothesis: I don't know about you, but that bombing in Madrid has *not* made me a calmer and happier person.

#123 ::: Elizabeth Bear ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 11:06 AM:

Alice Keeser:

I think I borrowed the gnomes from Celia Marsh, and I'm sure she doesn't mind sharing.

Kate Nepvue:

Come on over! I'm making paaaastaaaa.... and we will be fat and sedated and happy. *g*

Kingston Trio fans: Merry Little Minuet is available on I-Tunes. (YES! After ~12 years of looking for a copy. And it's even legal!)

I suppose I should do some sucking up now, but it's always so obvious when I try that. Maybe I need a quieter vacuum....

#124 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 11:34 AM:

Mary Kay - I think it was TorCon. Such things must be done in person, no? See you at NorEasCon! :-)

Dan - oo, sorry about the hazelnut coffee. I'm afraid I'll try to do it to you again if possible. And as for looking like an idiot, if you use Read All By (which my brain keeps trying to parse into Read By All) you'll notice that I have frequently stuck my foot into my mouth so far that I've been entirely threaded by my own leg, like some bald-headed piece of Celtic knotwork.

Nancy - This is anecdotal, but in my own case being on Atkins has improved my general mood. Yes, carbs give a push to serotonin levels. That's what makes them addictive; you need more and more as time goes by, because your reuptake levels increase too (this is called Zoom! Crash.). It's not just how I feel either: several friends have noticed that I'm less moody and snappish now. Atkins for Life! (In at least two different senses.)

BTW steroids are well known to cause irritability (maybe not the same kind of steroids). High doses can cause an uncontrollable fury called "'Roid Rage." (Never mind what else that apostrophe could stand for; they mean 'ste'.)

But no, Teresa, I don't think it's you. An example of the irritating quality of the universe:

Wednesday I walked the dozen or so blocks out to the store I wanted to go to, only to discover I'd forgotten my wallet. Back home and out again, to buy a pair of wireless headphones (so I can have loud cleaning music without waking the baby downstairs). Asked the guy, "These take double-RCA connectors, right?" He assured me that they did.

Home again, unpack the phones, discover that they don't take double RCA, but miniplug. Back to the store to get an adapter. Back home to discover that despite what they say on the box about "any room in your house," they only work line-of-sight to the transmitter. Too tired to go back again.

Thursday, bring them back and trade up to the expensive 900mHz ones. Get them home (they're miniplug but come with an adapter), discover that I have to charge them for 24 hours before first use. So I won't even know if they work until this afternoon. (Also, in one of the more bizarre pieces of instructional idiocy I've ever seen, they say "stand at least 20 feet from base while adjusting tuning." The tuning knob is on the base. I checked to make sure they meant that knob; they did. They actually assume your arms are 20 feet long.)

#125 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 11:40 AM:

One more hypothesis: I don't know about you, but that bombing in Madrid has *not* made me a calmer and happier person.

It's occurred to me several times since it happened that I am less devastated by the Madrid bombing than I am by the WTC attack, and this despite the fact that it spells out, clearly, that we are none of us safe in the Western world. (Monday evening I set out on a long jaunt by train and plane, via London: it was partly because of this that I was thinking about what the implications of the Madrid bombing were.)

When the WTC attack happened, it was not only the immediate devastation that horrified me: it was the realisation, made concrete over the next four or five days, that the Bush administration intended to plunge the US into war with Afghanistan in retaliation for the WTC attack, with (inevitably) far more loss of civilian lives: and it was clear that the long-term results of this attack would be still more horrifying.

I am less horrified by the Madrid bombing because, dreadful as it is, I have confidence that it will not lead to Spain using cluster bombs against a civilian population who were in no way responsible for that attack. Further, rather than the al-Qaeda attack leading to the strengthening of a war-mongering government, it actually led to that lying government being voted out of office.

I confess to being proud of being European.

#126 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 11:42 AM:

Tiercel, if you've not found others who know the "Merry Minuet" you've just not been hanging in the right circles (just as not finding folks who know your screenname is a falconry reference would indicate the same).

#127 ::: mockingbird ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 01:14 PM:

"is it meor has the entire universe been unnaturally irritating lately?"

"Im sorry I dont have time for this crap."

Yes, just what you need when you feel ill, some wuss sending you a nasty note while hidden behind the squirts of the internet. On the other hand, your response seemed very witty and fun to read. I feel glad that you have begun to feel better!

#128 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 01:14 PM:

John: I was checking to see if Leigh Brackett had ever done a sequel to "Purple Priestess" and discovered she has her own Wikipedia entry, and quite a good one too. I should investigate Wikipedia more.

Certainly you may call me Language; I will insist, however, that the New York Times refer to me as Mr. Hat. Although I very much like "Anatole de Motic" -- maybe I'll use that to review my own work...

As for Ogre-Eyed's Orwellian world-state, I think the 1000-ft high video screens and neo-Gothic surrealist palace sound like a lot of fun; I'll sign up to be one of the uniformed and uninformed syncophants.

#129 ::: Anatole de Motic ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 01:16 PM:

Great comment!

#130 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 01:52 PM:
Please, Teresa, come back to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold conference! Your presence was a Luxor-like beacon of light, outshining all the neon signs and flashing displays of the other experts! The click-click of your knitting needles was the perfect accompaniment to every talk! The red lead of your comments astounding! The, uh, the, hmmm, the humor of your Publishing World Lightbulb jokes too much to handle?

Man, I'm really not good at this.


Your Majesty is like a stream of bat's piss.

I'll sign up to be one of the uniformed and uninformed syncophants

Who suck up in a highly coordinated fashion. prefeerably to music. Definitely a neologism whose time has come.

#131 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 01:55 PM:

I was checking to see if Leigh Brackett had ever done a sequel to "Purple Priestess" and discovered she has her own Wikipedia entry, and quite a good one too. I should investigate Wikipedia more.

The truly surprising thing to me about Leigh Brackett's Wikipedia entry is that Vicki Rosenzweig only did a light copyedit on an early version of it. I've run across her editprints so many places over there that I somehow figured she would own the more SFnal entries.

#132 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 03:26 PM:

Yonmei:

Although I'm no supporter of Bush, I find the intervention in Afghanistan more justifiable than the invasion of Iraq.

Recall a few facts from this bit of recent history. As of September 11, 2001:

* Al Qaeda was known to have major bases of operation inside Afghanistan.

* Afghanistan was run by an oppressive, dictatorial regime that regarded the United States as an enemy and that provided support and refuge for al Qaeda.

* An unprovoked attack by al Qaeda on the United States had just killed thousands of innocent people.

In light of all this, it would be hard for any but the most craven pacifist to justify not making some sort of military response. To have done nothing in return would have been to send the message that terrorists can kill civilians and not expect retaliation. My usual motto has been, "War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" but some crimes against humanity are so egregious as to justify an exception, and this was one of them.

I'm curious as to what Yonmei, or anyone else, would suggest as a better response to the 9/11 attacks.

As for "using cluster bombs against a civilian population who were in no way responsible for that attack", you seem to have misread your map and your history book, and confused Afghanistan with Vietnam. I thought only Americans made that sort of mistake. Even President Bush was aware that this was not the sort of conflict to be won with carpet-bombing and cruise missiles, hence the emphasis on highly trained special forces operations on the ground. I hate the way this sounds, but it was inevitable that there would be some civilian casualties with all the fighting going on. But America didn't go into Afghanistan with the intention of indiscriminately killing civilians, and not all of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan were inflicted by our side.

What bothers me the most about our conduct in Afghanistan was that Bush and Co. were so willing to overthrow a dictatorial theocracy in Asia, while at the same time moving towards the installation of one in their own country.

All of that being said, I can't blame any Europeans for taking pride in their European (or is it more like "non-American") identity. If my country continues to slide in the direction it's been heading of late, Europe begins to look more and more like where I'd rather be.

#133 ::: Ab_Normal ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 03:32 PM:

Tiercel: Way back in high school, I played accompaniment for a friend who sang "Poisoning Pigeons" for various talent shows and one locally aired telethon*. I love that song, and inevitably start singing it to myself when spring threatens (as it does now -- sniffle).

* So now, when somebody asks "how are you", I can legitmately answer, "As seen on TV", which I alternate with "Life-like" and "Actual size".

PS: I can't even finish a short story, much less a novel. I come here for a fandom fix between conventions.

#134 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 03:57 PM:

God bless the boys at Penny Arcade for expressing the frustration of internet stupidity using the higher language of mathematics:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3

#135 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 04:34 PM:

My first office mate during my brief but colorful career as a Mathematics Grad Student was a wonderful dame named Joan. She was a housewife whose kids had finally flown free, so she decided that getting an advanced degree in Mathematics would be just the thing. Unlike me, she was a morning person, a fact which was driven home to me every day before the 8:00 AM class which some genius had decided I should teach, as she would sail -- there really is no other word for it; she sailed -- into our office singing, in a pure, clear, lilting voice, bloody songs from Threepenny Opera, or "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma, or some other morning song, depending on her whim of the moment.

If it was a song I recognized in time -- and, soon enough, I recognized them all -- I would join in. In the afternoons, to blow off steam, we would close the office door and dance on our desks, singing "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," or other Tom Lehrer tunes. Or Threepenny Opera, or Paint Your Wagon, or whatever else struck our fancy. Lots of Tom Lehrer, though.

Kinda makes me wish I had stuck around Grad School a little bit longer, really.

#136 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 05:23 PM:

Ray, I am now given hope that I will someday be able to do grad school. :-) As in, non-teacher-ed grad school.

Had a high school classmate who'd sail into English singing on a rising major arpeggio up the octave, "Good morning to you! Good morning to you!" Then on a falling major triad arpeggio: "You look really sleepy. In fact you look creepy." I've never forgotten it. (Sorry my music terminology's shot to pieces. It's been a good 7 years or so since I last had music theory.)

Wonder where she is now. She was one of the few optimists in high school who actually made me happy being around her.

#137 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 07:05 PM:

There's a Patrick O'Brian quote on my sidebar that's there for a reason.

Ah, thank you! I've often wondered about that and been unbable to make sense of why it might be there. I understand perfectly now.

MKK

#138 ::: Ayse Sercan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 08:30 PM:

One more hypothesis: I don't know about you, but that bombing in Madrid has *not* made me a calmer and happier person.

The attack in Madrid just convinced me that somebody has it in for people who were born on the eleventh of the month in months evenly divisible by 3.

Kind of like my friend whose birthday is April 20.

#139 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 10:39 PM:

Ray, that sounds like it was almost too much fun. If I'd known grad school was like that, I'd have stuck around too.

#140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2004, 11:40 PM:

Yeah, Ayse, I know...I turned 44 1/2 on the day of the Madrid bombings.

Actually, when they were still not sure if it was ETA or Al Qaeda, the date made me sure it was the latter. Intuitively. There were better reasons (like, duh, they claimed it and ETA denied it), but that was what made me sure.

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 12:03 AM:

Oh, and have a look at the "earliest Latin handwriting by a woman" link. Note the date of the birthday party.

#142 ::: Cat Darensbourg ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 12:36 AM:

2004 did start off terribly, but matters have managed to turn around. From a year where I dragged more friends and family into the ER over frighteningly ridiculous things ("No Dad, potential kidney infection is not your friend!"), and then gotten caught up in humiliating things myself ("I lost my meds and I have four hours left before things get nasty."), I had the recent pleasure of watching legal justice stop eviction proceedings and rescue two close friends from the jaws of homelessness (They even got to keep the cat!). We're still celebrating, and for the first time in ages I was able to sit down and write for the joy of it.

Some time life does work out, even if it's only in one corner of the world.

#143 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 01:29 AM:

I need to get to bed (Working Saturday overtime. My favourite words...), so I stopped about halfway through the comments currently posted. So if I missed something that makes anything I have to say redundant, I'm sure I'll find out the next time I actually have something resembling a chance to look at my computer.

This last couple of weeks have been rather foul -- pleasant and intelligent people making bad mistakes and semi-competents losing what little ability they had. Worldwide, of course, it's been going on longer, but in March, the individual-level jerkdom has risen significantly. I could provide all too many examples in the workplace.

On another topic:

I will freely admit that I first came to this weblog and Electrolite because Teresa and Patrick were in publishing. I'd seen them a couple of times at conventions, and they seemed simultaneously pleasant and intelligent; I wanted to see what they had to say outside of the restrictions you get at such a convention.

True: I probably would never have come to these weblogs if they drove cement mixers.

Also true: Now I'd stay if they ended up cleaning latrines, though I also wish them well and hope they never have to. I keep recommending people to read them who've never had anything to do with the writing world.

Ack. That sounds like shameless fan gushing. It's enough to make me wish I'd posted here under a pseudonym.

#144 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 08:05 AM:

Actually, 2004's been a pretty good year so far.

Of course, this is in comparison to 1999-2003, wherein everyone in the family had major health problems. Our son Chris had his jaw shattered in a major auto accident, I had my months of severe back pain, and Hilde not only was almost killed by her SDRA (when her C1 and C2 shattered and her brain was almost, in her doctor's memorable phrase, "pithed like a laboratory frog"), but also spent almost those entire four years trying to eliminate the ostemyelitis that had gotten entrenched in her jaw. (Imagine having an abscessed tooth. Now imagine having ALL your lower teeth abscessed at the same time.)

Yep, 2004's better.

#145 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 09:55 AM:

Hi Ray.

Arthur Hlavaty is doing a better job of owning the stfnal bits of Wikipedia than I am--he's better at things like author biographies. I do some when I think of it, but mostly I look at "new pages" and "recent changes" and edit what catches my eye.

#146 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2004, 01:49 PM:

In light of all this, it would be hard for any but the most craven pacifist to justify not making some sort of military response.

Craven? Surely there are other adjectives you might have chosen. 'Thoughtful,' 'Committed,' 'Practical,' 'Clear-thinking,' all come to mind right away. Anyway, a legal response would have been preferable. The target was, or should have been, Al Quaida, not Afghanistan. Prosecuting a war muddied those waters beyond hope of success. That is, if one defines "success" as "neutralizing Al Quaida's ability to hurt and kill people while capturing the ones responsible for hurting and killing people and putting them on trial".

To have done nothing in return would have been to send the message that terrorists can kill civilians and not expect retaliation.

"Nothing" was not in truth the only other alternative available. Starting a war, however, was the alternative that was least likely to do any good, as noted at the time by us craven pacifist surrender cheese lovemonkeys. And lo! little good has indeed been done, and much harm.

I'm curious as to what Yonmei, or anyone else, would suggest as a better response to the 9/11 attacks.

The nations of the world are simply chock-full of intelligence agencies whose mandate is to find, isolate and neutralize terrorist organizations. All of them were, at the time, chomping at the bit. Instead we started a war.

As for "using cluster bombs against a civilian population who were in no way responsible for that attack", you seem to have misread your map and your history book, and confused Afghanistan with Vietnam.

I don't know what you're thinking of, but googling "cluster bombs" and "Afghanistan" brings up a staggering number of hits in both the Web and the News sections. They're the bright yellow ones, that look just like food packets. Children find them irresistable. Human Rights Watch, citing the DoD, puts the number of cluster bomb units dropped in the first six months at 1,228 for a total of 248,056 'bomblets'. They're still being cleared from residential areas. So when Yonmei writes of "using cluster bombs against a civilian population," she is not confused, nor misreading a map, nor a history book.

#147 ::: Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2004, 12:43 AM:

I occasionally catch flak from people who dont feel up to confronting Patrick.

Oh, dear. Silly people. Patrick would have just swatted him. It wouldn't have been with a small newspaper, and it would have hurt, but it would have been over much faster. And I say this not knowing either of you except by your blogs.

While I agree with several posters that there has been plenty to be irritated with lately, it probably is, in part, just you. Well, not just you. Having been sick in January (all of January--no laspes in breathing, just a throat too painful for sleeping sometimes and talking most of the time), I can say that it didn't leave me many resources for dealing with the irritations. Dealing with a Windows box at work almost reduced me to tears some days. Your body may have all it can handle right now just keeping you alive, and you may not, literally, have time for this.

Oddly, that's the good news. That means it'll pass, and you'll be able to go back to hooting (or do you chortle?) at the idiots stupid enough to bring it to your attention this way. Hopefully it'll be soon. Not that this wasn't entertaining.

#148 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2004, 09:27 AM:

Tiercel: You are the only person I have ever "met" outside of my immediate family who has even *heard* of the Merry Minuet!

I can understand not knowing the title, but never having heard of it? Even after L'Engle made it the signature of the semi-psycho in the Austins books?

Or am I dating myself? Is it one of those things not passed on to the ]current generation[?

Ray: knowing something of Three-Penny Opera, I have to ask what bloody song from it was considered a morning song? The opening of the first scene is certainly what I feel like singing some mornings (especially if I wake up too early and can't get back to sleep), but it's not bloody, and the bloody songs all seem like night-time songs to me.

#149 ::: Nell Lancaster ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2004, 10:45 AM:

>> what bloody song from [Three-Penny Opera] ... was considered a morning song?

#150 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2004, 03:38 PM:

Scott Lynch: I appreciate the PA reference. (I heart the Tycho.)

Wow. I get busy for a few days and miss another blowout. (I'm sure it's a regrettable flaw and an example of human nature that I occasionally like being a seal with a ball. But hey...)

Where is the golden rule that says Editors Must Suffer Fools, or really, anybody with a perceived position of power? This reminds me a little of the flak that Kerry caught over calling the opposition "crooks" or "scary"...if in his opinion they were, what was so wrong about his honestly stating it, and did he owe them an apology when it wasn't represented as an official public statement by Senator Kerry? Do we totally give up all rights to have an opinion by wandering into a perceived public eye?

I think Patrick has a good point--he and Teresa seem to writing and sharing these opinions for years, if Making Book is anything to go by.

#151 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2004, 08:42 PM:

Had considered 2002 the nadir so far, having been almost simultaneously diagnosed with serious cancer requiring immediate treatment & major, disabling (tho' less than many others) surgery and my partner - who'd survived similar problems in 2001 - suddenly dying.
Was trying to juggle radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgical recuperation, with funeral arrangments, administering messy estate, organizing leave from work, money, and caring for my getting-frail, deaf, slighty-stroke-demented 90-year-old widowed mother.
Both of us were only children, his parents dead, so I had to rely on a combination of friends, a helpful employer and good government systems (really vital support there). It could have been worse.

2004 was looking up, with his superannuation and insurance finally paying out 2 years on (at least it wasn't same-sex relationship; no chance then), so I could settle his debts, then pay back the personal loans needed to keep all those payments up.

Had thought was just tired & a bit depressed from obvious troubles, but now tests show possible return of cancer. Before, wasn't sure if I could face it. Now, having scraped through before, am not certain if I could go through all again. The saying may be "what doesn't kill me, strengthens me", but some get weaker. Not sure that dooms us justly.

#152 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 09:05 AM:

CHip:

I think it's a generational thing. *I* wouldn't have heard of the song if it hadn't been for my parents; I was born in 1976. (Actually, I remember singing that song to myself in high school one day and completely offending a girl. The quote: "I'm Italian, and I don't hate Yugoslavians! I don't think that's funny!")

As for L'Engle - very, very few of my childhood peers read much at all. I read all of her fantasy, but not the Austin books, so I missed that myself. *makes mental note to go to library soon*

#153 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 10:37 AM:

Pericat:

I stand corrected on the cluster bombs, and ashamed of that aspect of the operations. I honestly thought that this country was better than that. Shows what I get for trusting Rumsfeld's boys to do the right thing.

But I remain unconvinced that removing the Taliban from power, and taking al Qaeda's previously assumed safe havens in Afghanistan out of the equation, didn't accomplish something for the greater good.

#154 ::: Varia ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 01:56 PM:

But I remain unconvinced that removing the Taliban from power, and taking al Qaeda's previously assumed safe havens in Afghanistan out of the equation, didn't accomplish something for the greater good.

I remain equally unconvinced that the people of Afghanistan have benefited by it. Whose greater good are we talking about here?

#155 ::: meta4 ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 03:59 PM:

the world political tension is like a giant eschatological screw tightening daily. the more one looks deeper, the scarier it all is.

i am an optimist.
we should be made into national treasures like potters in japan. paid to sit there and shine our sunny light.
we'd have to remain silent as meher baba, though, because anything we said would of course be utterly ludicrous.
ok, i admit it, i believe in astrology, in a healthy, relativist way, mind you!
this passage from pisces to aries is like this for me every year. i see it also in my SO. this year it has been especially rich in jerky tiny impromptu movements which release disproportionate amounts of destructive consequences.

like jogging a shelf, and one of the supports coming loose, and 10 bowls dropping on the floor and smashing.
something to do with the golgi reflex, for sure, i think, maybe, certainly possibly!
in our dna we have memories of hibernation, cranky because we're waking up, 'sall. it's always too soon, like weaning.
there is a paradox in how many people get sick when the weather starts to get warmer.
it's a bit like an athlete collapsing after a marathon, i.e. the immune system's extra work it has with more indoor living, more bugs and viruses to combat during winter months. or maybe with warmer weather germs move faster.
i enjoy thinking about this stuff.
psycho-neuro-immunology: the field of the future.

i don't really care either way about public troll-dissection, wonder if it's worth the energy, unless your blood pressure benefits.
still, i've always loved intelligent crankiness, especially when the alternatives are pc pablum pacifiers.
i come to this site because it's political/literary, doesn't get too close to being too precious too often, and because the internet's a big place, and all cyberfeet stumble everywhere eventually.
my fave site for politics and lol humour is www.dailykos.com.
where the rubber meets the info-highway, in spades.

here's nice too... more contemplative, academic.
thanks everyone for contributing to such a nice watering-hole.

i just bought my first miniature donkey, and its company is as soothing as peoples' have been fractious.

man thinks and speaks, donkey watches and feels, communication occurs when human shuts up, donkey gets through...human humbled again in front of debunking reflection of great conceit that we are more 'evolved' because we can .....blah....blah

time to go check on arabella again!

peace in the valley,

happy yapping

m4

#156 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 09:22 PM:

Ray: knowing something of Three-Penny Opera, I have to ask what bloody song from it was considered a morning song? The opening of the first scene is certainly what I feel like singing some mornings (especially if I wake up too early and can't get back to sleep), but it's not bloody, and the bloody songs all seem like night-time songs to me.

When Joan sailed into the office at 7:45 AM singing a song -- any song -- it was magically transmuted into a morning song as a result. Even if it was about, say, decapitation or poisoning. Perhaps especially if it were about decapitation or poisoning, come to think of it.


Sometimes, when she was in the office before me, I would come in with "...Someday I'm going to murder the bugler / Someday they're going to find him dead / I'll amputate his revelie / And step upon it heavily / And spend the rest of my life in bed"

#157 ::: Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 01:21 AM:

Tiercel: You are the only person I have ever "met" outside of my immediate family who has even *heard* of the Merry Minuet! Wow!

Truly?

It is a most excellent song to use for keeping the beat while hiking in Cornwall.

(Though we got tired of it after a while and started with "I'm 'Enery the Eighth I Am". We got up to about sixty-five verses (same as the first) on that.)

My family is known for immense tenacity but not so much for sanity.

#158 ::: Robert A. Sloan ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 12:18 PM:

Hope both you and Patrick are feeling better, especially you, Teresa. ERs are not fun, and neither is that unpleasant experience of not breathing and wondering if you're going to die. Ick. Commiseration. I got off lighter this year and am very grateful.

I started reading Patrick's weblog because I sent a submission to him after Steven Brust twisted my arm to do it with the quotable words "you don't pay to get published, publishers pay you, that's how this works." I wanted to see what Patrick liked to read, because I placed a whole lot of fanzine stories in the 1980s and found out fast that if I knew what an editor liked reading, I knew where to send what to get regular free copies.

I found out he had a great editorial column with a lot of neat side articles, virtually a free online magazine with professional quality. That didn't surprise me. He's that good a writer and his weblog's his own personal bailiwick where he doesn't have to answer to any kind of group interest or production and his readers are people who like the column and the chosen other blog articles or just the layout or it's the one they know. Electrolite became that for me and it also gave me valuable reality checks about what was going on IRL when my submission got delayed. Yeesh. When I edited one fanzine and one small press production I found out how busy even the tiniest editor can get.

I started reading yours, Teresa, because it linked with Patrick's and always cracked me up or got me interested. Neat. A day or so ago, I started responding because the comments threads were fun and I post a lot on discussion forums.

This post cheered me up and cracked me up and reaffirmed something I thought anyway -- with a lot of relief. On the job you accept and reject *that book* for what it is and what you needed that year, and I suspect either of you might buy the right book that fit the lineup even if you knew and were annoyed by the author, but on weblog you write that well. It was a hilarious rant.

I had a couple of troll encounters on my far lousier blog, which I mostly used for personal catharsis and rumination, and I never answered my trolls directly but was often tempted. One of them is an oddity because the tone is about like your troll, but mixed in with all the nasty condescending insults would be one or two lines of real crit, like "If you want to write horror, establish right at the beginning that your villain is evil. Have them kill some kittens or something."

This was usually followed and preceded by various personal flames that weren't you, because you write better, but did sound like someone who's in the business somewhere. I don't know or care who this troll is, and the IP address said it came from a state where I don't or didn't know anyone online. But I was mightily tempted to answer sometime if I could manage this level of wit, and get the thread going just as entertainment -- on the order of the old BBS "war subs" since my troll could manage occasional nuggets of advice and witty lines.

Thanks for something that cheered me up on a bad health day. As for finding out what you buy, the best place to look is going to be checking out what books you bought before looking over what I have to send out. It worked with the zine editors.

What I'm grateful for as a writer are your occasional ruminations on the industry and its history, because I was around for a lot of that and it feels like coming back to fandom. Sturgeon's Law still applies and which 10% is the gold is probably always going to be personal taste to at least some degree. You throw in good advice and, well, you write well. Thanks to you and Patrick, I've taken up blog surfing more and paid a bit more attention to the news.

It's neat to know that despite its pro-level quality, your weblog really is just a weblog I like to read, nothing more or less. But when trolls engage with people who have pro skills, it is a little like underage street bullies walking up to pro wrestlers. They will lose on the laugh meter. I've seen this on other pro writers' weblogs if they blog a lot and answer the trolls. Skill counts, and pro skills at anything -- even knitting or watercolor sketching -- will tend to come out when you're on a busman's holiday.

Net result, I've started editing my weblog and won't be posting as often till I get the hang of it, because lousy blog entries might put total strangers off reading my books even if I pass a good one through a pro publisher. Am I a weirdo for thinking that years of practice has something to do with skill and quality? I write better than I used to, not as well as I will, and sooner or later my learning curve will cross the needs of a pro editor's next lineup and I'll be working on trying to sell the next one and some nonfiction on all the hobbies I already do well. Way cool. Thanks to your posts, a lot of my previous intimidation burned down and I can just treat your comments threads as what they are -- fun threads.

Luck on health and life, and may you find a good laugh when you need it most.

Robert and Ari >^..^

#159 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 08:52 AM:

Robert, thank you for the kind words and the understanding, but there's really no excuse for how long I've been sitting on your submission.

The volume of unsolicited slush is one problem, but I've also become a black hole in dealing with the other kind of submission. I'm actually catching up -- more stuff is being dealt with than is coming in -- but I won't really be happy until all my pending submissions are less than three or four months old.

#160 ::: Lee sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2010, 02:21 AM:

@ 160-161

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.