Inside my head, bleak events looming

First, the bleak. In this holiday season, this time of lights, celebrations, and laughter, darker things are closing in–real things not story things– hard, sad family things which are not mine to share in detail.

TL;DR edition: There is nothing good or easy about death’s slow approach. It sucks harder when it’s happening long-distance but not so distant travel would physically impossible or financially crippling. It sucks worst because death watches are not right for everyone, but some people think everyone should be there. (Apologies, that TL;DR was a little TL itself.)

The longer rant: Being present for a loved one’s last days  or moments is NOT necessarily the right thing. For many it is a crucial solace and a way to offer and receive support in grief. But it IS NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE, and there’s a cruel side to the accepted wisdom that it is. There is no special magic to “being there.” Pushing someone to drop everything to go to the bedside of a dying relative is a huge mistake.

Everyone’s relationship is unique. Not everyone needs to see a sib or parent or aunt or cousin or grandparent right up to the end of their life. Not in this modern age which often includes a long, blurred twilight of medical intervention. Not if the experience is going to color every memory and deliver deep, bloody damage to fragile hard-won, precariously-balanced mental health.

And that’s all I’m going to say about it now.  I am stressed and distracted and feeling very much the fierce-protector-beast at the moment.

The rest of the things:

  •  Reading: I have snagged up a TON of new SFF titles for my kindle through holiday sales & giveaways. But I’m reading the fluffiest of fluffy romances because I need hapily-ever-afters very much right now.
  • Viewing: I watched all the Lord of the Rings extended editions last week,  then checked out the Hobbit trilogy from the library, and then proceeded through the Lord Of the Rings again afterwards. On blu-ray. For those interested, yes, there is are noticeable differences in picture quality  & sound quality both.

    Christmas hibernation viewing has now proceeded to a from-the-beginning review of Game of Thrones, because Santa & Spouseman picked up the 7th season and we want to catch up. I am skipping all the scenes with Theon after he gets captured by the Boltons.

  • A new category: Submissions:  I have a short story I’m sending out to real, actual magazines. One rejection down, many more to come, I’m sure.  I’m waiting until after the New Year to send it out again, though.

And here’s the latest in searches:

  • Game of Thrones Wiki (lots of character searches, because I’m not up to bonding with characters who are going to die horribly.
  • Balsam Hill Christmas Trees (they had a sale. I HAD TO HAVE ONE It’s beautiful.)

Random cat pic: Scooter in his new Scooter Hut:IMG_5202

No no-context WIP snippet this time. I’m not getting a lot of writing done. The house is cleanish, Spouseman & I have clean clothes, there is fresh food & drink to be had, and I am stress-baking like wildfire. These are victories enough for me. I refuse to judge myself too harshly for not creating more.

And that’s all the all there is for now.

Letter to a Dead Friend

We all cope with grief in our own ways. Writing letters to a dead man is one of mine.

Until the end of 2016 I spent hours on the telephone each week chatting with Dan Berli Brown about books, movies, television, games, tropes, philosophy, life the universe, and fuck knows what else. We both adored overthinking the deeper truths stories reveal about ourselves and our society. And we both loved to talk. Past tense, him being dead and all.

I miss him fiercely every single damned time I think “I need to remember to tell Dan’l about that,” and that’s too many times a day to count. So this  Other Things media post went all epistolary on me, and the next few probably will as well.


It’s been entirely too fucking long since you last called and said, “Hey, what’s up?” because you’re bored, can’t sleep or are waiting for the coffee to brew. So here’s the rundown on what I’ve been doing — because if I don’t tell you, you’ll get all pissy when you find out about it later and I say, “Oh, yeah, I knew about that.”


You’ll hate my latest movie marathon. I did all the Harry Potter movies. In order, binge-style. I watched the last one twice. I dunno. I felt like wallowing in heroism, sacrifice, and happy endings for some reason.  And then I watched the Adventures of Baron von Munchausen. Terry Gilliam. Because nothing says life like a big dose of absurdity.

I also went to the theater for the first time in forever! With friends! We did the brunch & big screen bad movie thing, and it was stupendous fun. Underworld: Blood Wars. How bad was it? It started with a longer monologue than Highlander 2. Yeah. Highlights (if I can call them that) lots of the Discount Lesser Hemsworth (Theo Gates) flexing in fight scenes and Kate Beckinsale in black latex. Lots of ridiculous action and plot holes big enough to drive planets through. It’s setting the 2017 movie quality bar very low.

What else have I been doing…watching TV of course.

Black Mirror, man. Wow. Did you tell me I should watch this? I should’ve seen it YEARS ago. Like the Twilight Zone stretched into hour-long episodes. Writing, acting, production all top notch. Brain-twisting, heart-wrenching, gut-turning. Bleak and all-too-believable.

The OA.  The soundtrack is first-class, the direction & cinematography are beautiful, and it touches on some intriguing concepts: life after death, dimensional travel, healing after trauma. Alas, it suffers from a severe case of 21st century sllllooooooows. (slower than Battlestar Galactica: Pocket Knife, I kid you not.) Plus the reveals are a mixture of hokey and “Are you fucking kidding me?”   It’s reaching for a “mystery wrapped in an enigma” feel, but the long, lingering redundant reaction shots suck the life out of it. Skip this and re-watch Stranger Things again instead.

Sherlock. Season 3. You totally missed out on this one. Started dark and deadly, bounced into epic with the middle episode, and wrapped up…well. NO SPOILERS AMIRITE?  Yes, yes, you were right all along about the other Holmes sibling. Go ahead, say “I told you so.” Smartypants.

And yeah, I’ve been reading.

One of those Regency romances.  I don’t have the title because the library keeps not sending the email receipts. It was the latest Mary Balogh. Reliable and enjoyable. No facetious comments or eye rolls, or  I will counter with,  “Star Wars novels you read even when you hate the author.” We all do odd things that make us happy. Never could understand why you did that to yourself.

Burning Page.  I was telling you about the first in this series the day before you went in for your last clinic visit. You know, the one where you ended up in the ER and then the ICU? The stories just keep getting better. Dangerous fae just the way they should be, a Sherlock Holmes analogue, a multiverse of great magic/tech mixes, and a feisty Librarian with a capital L. You would eat it up like candy. Well. Not candy. Not you. Red meat, maybe. Read meat, even. There. A bad pun for your collection.

Oh, and I’m writing again. Jack Coby and Amy Goodall are getting into trouble with a big supporting cast and some unfolding domestic strife. I wish you were still around to give me the usual snarky lines for them to say.

That’s all the trouble I’ve been getting into lately. I would ask for a new batch of effusive recommendations and pithy warn-offs, but you won’t have any, so I’ll have to muddle along.

Anyway. I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. Talkatchalater.