Wednesday, December 28, 2011

These Things Happen

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, I took a cantaloupe-sized green egg away from a father whose kind has been unchanged for some 80 million years.  I was nervous, because he weighted nearly as much as I did, and had claws far longer and sharper than mine. And besides which, he was a parent and I was only hoping to be one with his stolen child, which I imagined gave him an advantage.

But he was confused, new to the game, not really that concerned, and I stepped past him easily enough and took the small pipping green egg, this hatchling critter who, when she was finally free of the hard shell, fit easily into the palm of my one hand.

I raised her inside for months until she was big enough, then outside in a greenhouse. She was beautiful, of course, and smelled fabulous to me, with my mother's eyes and nose.

When I left that far-off land, I left her in the care of both new human parents and the parents of her own kind. Knowing she was well was enough.

She died today, at five and a half years old.  It happened suddenly, mysteriously, in her sleep. These things happen.

Having recently been through the death of a beloved fur-child that was not sudden, not mysterious, and not fast, I do see the advantages in this quick transition.

And yet, and yet. It is not all that much easier.

But these things happen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snot Funny

I'd like to be able to say that aside from this particular habit, Kitty is a loving, generous and intelligent creature.

Not quite. Kitty is demanding, touchy, and temperamental.

Like most cats, Kitty naps. Unlike most cats, when she wakes she shakes her head vigorously, sliming everything in the surrounding area. We're not talking a little spray here, friends, but amounts of wetness that lead one to first wonder where she keeps it all inside that tiny head, and second where a towel might be. I usually say something loud as well.

So I decide I've had enough. It's time for the vet. As I reach for the phone, I imagine the exam in my mind. I have a very good imagination.

The vet says, "Well, she seems healthy enough.  I wonder if it's allergies."

Uh oh. I know more than a little about allergies. I know what comes next.

"Does she do this after anything in particular?" the vet asks. "What do you feed her? You might want to consider trying a new food, see if that helps. Give it a month or so and check back."

"Okay," I say. "We'll give that a try."

And there it is: the vet visit has taken place in my mind. No need to schedule or stuff Kitty in a box for transit. Quite convenient.

So I switch Kitty to some new and expensive cat food. (Not in my head, no, but thanks for checking.) High protein, low carbs, and no grains. As the (yes, imaginary) vet suggests, I give it a few weeks.

A few weeks go by and by golly Kitty is no longer a snot machine. She still shakes her head but nothing goes flying. Now she's merely demanding, touchy, and temperamental.

I'm impressed. Points to my imagination. Well done. Have a kitty treat.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Main Stream at Last

I was raised on science fiction and fantasy and when you're raised in a fiction genre you often aspire to stay there. It's what you know, after all. Across the years, my stories have been published only in SF&F--books, anthologies and magazines. Until now.

Yes, friends, I have just sold a story to a mainstream publication, one I have been familiar with for decades, that I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined would one day contain my fiction within its colorful covers.

I've just had a story accepted for Uncle John's Bathroom Reader "Flush Fiction" anthology. (Do note the small pun in the title of this post; I'd be so disappointed if you missed it.)

Uncle John has bought my 1k story "Biggest Fan! Ever!" for this upcoming anthology. I am particularly amused because this is satire taken from my experience with SF&F fans. Which would all be a lot funnier if I could share the story with you, which of course I can't because it's not yet published.

But when it is I will announce it on my publications announcement mailing list. Do join if you'd like to be informed.

Thinking about the SF Ghetto that I have (momentarily) escaped (I know my place) brought me to this intriguing article, which starts with two very nice quotes, one of which has long been a favorite of mine. From Bruce Sterling's preface to  Gibson's Burning Chrome:

If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science-fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins makes us seem harmless.

This quote always makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my little ghetto. And a little proud. Big Ideas! Harmless! Hah!