WindyCon 2018: my next adventure

November 9-11, 2018 Lombard IL. Fan-run, friendly, laid-back & fun. This’ll be my fourth one. Hard to believe it’s been 4 years since Controlled Descent & Flight Plan came out.

This year I took the big step of signing up as a programming participant, which meant gambling on life remaining calm so I wouldn’t have to back out. LIFE COOPERATED!  I will be on panels as well as hanging out in the dealer room . Without further ado, here is my schedule:

Pass the Kleenex – Friday 9:00 – 10:00 pm – Lilac D
Not all stories are upbeat and hopeful. A discussion of depressing SciFi/Fantasy stories.

Reading – Saturday 12:00-1:00 pm – 1631 (Reading Room)
12pm Deirdre Murphy 12:30pm Karen Herkes

Guilty Pleasures – Saturday 4:00-5:00 pm – Muller Grand Ballroom G
We all have them. It could be a drugstore book or a cheesy movie. Let’s admit it and share them out loud!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! – Saturday, 11-10-2018 – 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Lilac C
You’ve written your book/story now you need to promote it.

Yeah, that’s right. I’ll be doing a reading, so I’d better bring my A game.  And yes, I am now secure enough in my authoring identity that I’m willing to speak about promoting books. I mean, sure, I don’t follow a lot of the “rules” but I know which ones I’m breaking and accept the consequences. That counts, right?  (Yes, right.)

Of course I’ll have copies of my books there. I’m hanging with Rich from Games Plus to help cover the store’s booth, and also pitching in to help at a table with some other fine, local authors, so… yes. THERE WIILL BE BOOKS YOU COULD OWN for the low, low price of some money.

Obligatory I-sell-books reminder made, onward to personal musings.

I love WindyCon for many reasons. First off, it’s local! (45-60 min drive, so local-ish, I suppose.) That’s always a plus. Second, a WindyCon was the second-ever fan-run con I attended as an author, and it was the first one where I sold books.

So. I am full of warm fuzzies for the kind and hard-working people who plan and run WindyCon.  (Next year, if all goes well, fingers crossed, I might be able to volunteer, too. If. Life. Cooperates.)

I am very much looking forward to seeing all the friends I met at past WindyCons and last year at Capricon, Keeping touch through social media is no substitute for hanging out in person. I’m not naming names because I would forget someone I adore and then feel horrible about it, but <waving>  HIYA, yes, I’m thinking of you! See you soon!

On reflection, that whole paragraph right there ^^^  is a matter of sudden, wondrous astonishment & joy.

I have con friends. Wow.

windycon 2018 blog topper


What about love…a late & slightly obscure rant

Too late for Valentine’s day, but here’s another of my many ranty mental meanders. This one starts with a Bible verse. Not big on Bible things? No worries. Got the source material right here:

Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Yeah.  That right there is The Most Popular Wedding Reading In History.  (don’t go all facty-citey on me. It’s called hyperbole.)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: If you adore this particular bit of bible wisdom, I suggest you stop now and go look at something else, because it’s okay to agree to disagree, but I have MAJOR issues with this passage and its use as “accepted wisdom” advice about love.

Not that I’m against love. Far from it. Thirty-odd years ago now I indulged in a wedding myself and am still married,  still ridiculously in love with my superhero Spouseman.  In addition to being a marriage veteran,  I’m also a sappy lover of romances and happy endings. (Heh. I wrote “happy endings,” heheheheh. Ahem.) Anyway, I love love.

But I loathe that whole passage packed with advice about What Love Is. Not because it’s about love. Because it gets love WRONG, insisting love is about always anything, and so its use in a marriage ceremony is BEYOND WRONG.

The usual defense of 1 Corinthians rests on the foundation of “Oh, well, this passage isn’t insisting people be perfect. It is setting out the ideals to which couples should aspire. Of course God knows we’re going to fail, but we’re supposed to try hard & ask forgiveness when we fail.

I CALL BULLSHIT. Not about the asking forgiveness part. (You might have to do that a lot in a loving relationship.) I’m talking about the essential interpretation. 1 Corinthians is not advice for couples. It’s about religious love. God love. Not people love.

How do I know?

I’ve read that whole danged book, and it’s as clear as day that 1 Corinthians is a letter to a congregation, not a couple. It spells out in no uncertain terms that it’s about God’s love. The writer (Saint Paul, for those interested)  is reassuring a group of people that they don’t have to be perfect to be loved because God’s love will shore them up. Its whole point is specifically that they will never be judged unworthy for failing because God is the only perfection there is.

Now, belief in God aside, this blows the whole, “ideals” defense out of the water. It’s taking an inspirational team coaching speech with the message “Yes, you’ll screw up, but don’t beat yourself down, it’s okay,” and turning it into an aggravating, “This is what love is, so if you aren’t doing these things you don’t really love your partner and/or you are a failure. But no pressure because God loves even total screw-ups.”

Better than a sharp stick in the eye  (I suppose) but hardly inspirational or even aspirational. It’s setting couples up for a lot of poisonous powerplay arguments that start with, “IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME THEN YOU WOULD_______________”

Those rarely end well. Advice that promotes bitter divisiveness is not good marriage advice in my not so very humble opinion.

Because ya know that whole “to err is human” thing? That’s reality. We are flawed. We are imperfect. We will screw up. It’s in the blueprints. We all make mistakes full stop.

So to say that love is always be this or that or does anything at all without mistakes is…dangerous at best. It says mistakes mean it isn’t really love…

…which is baloney, as anyone who has had to pick up their spouse’s socks or put down a toilet seat or transport abandoned dishes from bedroom to kitchen for the millionth time knows. If I get envious, if I get angry, if I doubt or shirk my responsibilities to my partner, it doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It simply means I’m human.

Human love is as infinitely individual as we are, so there cannot be a single perfect iteration of it. A thing I do not need in my life is another righteous lecture on The Only Way To Do A Thing.

Me, I want a passage about how love is telling jokes and doing laundry, tolerating toenail clippings and holding the line against dirty clothes on the kitchen table. Love is trying hard to avoid hurting and letting go of old hurts, it is being honest about likes and dislikes, and about valuing the needs and joys of someone else.

Love is complicated. Love is compromise. It ebbs and flows like the tide, and it does not demand or require perfection. That’s my version, at least. Someone else’s might be entirely different.

I still cherish the look on our pre-marriage counselor’s face when I went on a rant about that verse when it was brought up as a possible reading for our ceremony. Startled does not begin to describe his expression. Gobsmacked comes close.

Understandable, of course. He was a priest. An Episcopal priest, to be sure, but still.  PRIEST. Ripping apart popular Bible verses is just not a thing one does in front of members of the clergy.

Of course one usually doesn’t petition the busy, important bishop of a diocese to perform marriage ceremonies either. (Never occurred to me to be intimidated until too late. Story of my life.) Hey, he’d been a chaplain at the summer camp where I worked, and my parish had no priest in residence at the time, so I had to ask someone. Turns out he loved doing weddings but no one had asked him in forever because he was a Bishop…

ANYway. After realizing I was dropping a Bible rant on a priest I sat waiting for him to shake his head in disappointment or maybe kick us out of the church office. (Soon-to-be-Spouseman was not at all shocked by me going off like a rocket. He was mildly amused.  Go figure.)

Did we get chastised or “corrected?” Nope.

The priest in question found the attitude quite refreshing and mentioned h’d given like, six sermons in his career discussing that point in far more scholarly terms.

Ah, sweet, sweet vindication. 1 Corinthians is NOT advice about how to properly exercise mortal love, and couples mistaking it as such only set themselves up to fail.

I can’t even remember what set me off on this particular road of remembrance, but here we are. End of another long meander.

Go forth and love as impatiently & proudly or as kindly and softly as you damned well please.

Random post about sleeping.

Seriously. Random thoughts. Expect more oddball posts like this–and shorter ones as well–as I feed less and less personal material to Facebook.

This topic came to mind while I was relocating some stray pillows this morning.

I have piles of throw blankets & pillows in every room of my house except the kitchen and bathroom. And my floors are layered with multiple rugs too. I’d like to attribute this eccentric decorating scheme to personal taste, but no. The blame rests on bad joints & a natural biphasic sleep schedule.

Slight digression for a definition.  Biphasic means it’s natural for me to wake up and prowl around in the middle of the night. Sometimes I putter quietly, other times I read, occasionally I will fire up the computer and write. Often enough I just get up from where I fell asleep, brush my teeth etc, and go to bed for a snuggle. In the summertime, I might crawl under the covers for second-sleep after the sky is light and birds are chirping. But that’s normal…for me.

One major problem, discovered early in co-habitating, is that other people don’t sleep the way I do, and they don’t appreciate me waking them up in the middle of the night.

Getting out of bed disturbs Spouseman unless I exert a lot of mental effort to be stealthy about departure. So if I’m in bed with him when I hit my wake-point, I have a choice of 1) lying there getting steadily more awake and annoyed until morning, which is actual insomnia, 2) exerting mental effort and ending up wide awake rather than properly sleepy-peaceful…which leads to insomnia, or 3) disrespecting my partner’s needs by waking him up with my stumbling and fumbling. None of those options appeal.

I can successfully slide into bed in the dark of night while sleepy-active without issue. It’s getting out of bed & out of the room without bouncing off furniture while drowsy–or worse, absentmindedly turning on a light–that causes conflict.

Thus my whole house is sleep-ready. I sleep where I get sleepy, and go to bed at Some Point later.  Spouseman has a much more traditional sleep schedule and long ago got used to kissing me goodnight wherever I happen to be drowsing.

I know, I know, all this still doesn’t explain the affection for multiple rugs. That’s where the joints come in.

On bad nights, one hip and the opposite shoulder both act up. This makes side-sleeping on either side uncomfortable without additional support. Solution: pillows!  On the worst nights my neck and back also get cranky, and only a hard surface will appease them. The floor! But not a cold, super-hard floor. I need a slightly cushy one. Rugs to the rescue!

Those worst nights are the ones when Spouseman will come up from gaming on his way to bed & find me curled up in a happy blanket nest in front of the coffee table with the cat sprawled out all over the couch above me.

It never fails to entertain him.

There it is. More than anyone needed to know.  I was just in an over-sharing mood.