Just another random post...
Me
jenwrites
...to keep LJ from shutting this thing down. I should probably also archive this sucker to my hard drive.

*dusting this thing off*
Me
jenwrites
So...yeah, I haven't been here in a while. I've been sucked over to the Facebook side of the force. But if I leave this alone for too long, LJ will threaten to shut it down, so here's an obligatory post to help keep it open.

It's that time of year again
Writing
jenwrites
The writing award season has started up again, so here's what I've had published this year, if you're in a nominating mood:

Novel:

Machine, from Apex Publications

Short stories:

"In the Manner of His Own Choosing," in Demon Lovers: Succubi, Deborah Taramis Christian, ed., Storybones

"Sacrifice," in Dark Faith: Invocations, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, eds., Apex Publications (also published online in Apex Magazine)

I've got two other stories that are probably coming out later this year, but neither is particularly deep, so there's no point in listing them here. I'm not saying this to put them down. I'm quite fond of both. But I don't think either is award-losing-caliber.

It's been a while since I posted, so here's my reaction to Doctor Who
Rory
jenwrites
Yeah, I don't really use this anymore. There's only so many time sucks that I have time for, and I've pretty solidly migrated to Facebook. It's where the bellydancers are, and that's much more of my life than writing is nowadays. Sorry. But after posting this on FB, I figured I'd dust off the old LJ account and post it here as well.

Note: If you join this discussion, please don't spoil episodes that haven't aired yet. I've been trying to avoid overt spoilers for the unaired episodes. All I know are the titles, the bits that have aired in official trailers, and the officially released promo pictures. Beyond that, I'm trying very hard to stay unspoiled.

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My Readercon weekend schedule
Me
jenwrites
Readercon (www.readercon.org) runs July 12-15 in Burlington, MA.

Thursday, July 12, 9:30: solo reading

Friday, July 13, noon: Codex group reading (there's a chance I won't be able to get out of work in time for this one, though)

Friday, July 13, 5:00 PM: Why I Stopped Writing.
Panelists: Erik Amundsen, Nathan Ballingrud, Steve Berman (leader), Geary Gravel, Jennifer Pelland, Luc Reid.
We've all seen writers logging their word counts, charting their progress toward the next novel or short story. And we've heard the advice to keep writing and submitting. But is it ever a good idea to just stop? What can we gain from getting off the publishing merry-go-round, at least for a while? Is stopping a sign of failure, or just another stage in a writer's career? The panelists discuss how and why they stopped writing (and maybe started up again).

Sunday, July 15, 10:00 AM: The Seven Deadly Myths of Creativity.
Panelists: Andy Duncan, Joe Haldeman, Steve Kelner (leader), Toni L.P. Kelner, Matthew Kressel, Jennifer Pelland, Luc Reid.
What is creativity, really? How does it work? Many people think of it as somehow magical, but in fact there has been considerable neuropsychological research devoted to the process of creativity, and current evidence makes it clear that it is inherent in the human brain: everyone is creative; the question is how to harness it. Having said that, there are many myths about creativity which are not only unhelpful but have actively blocked or inhibited writers. Fortunately, many of these myths are entirely explicable and avoidable. Stephen Kelner, a research psychologist who is also a professional writer, will give an overview of the myths and the realities, and discussion will further explore individual participants' questions or challenges.

And then, after Readercon, I'm one of the performers in the Abraxas Dance Company's show Paradox: http://www.tinydancer.co/Tiny_Dancer/Paradox.html
The show starts Sunday at 7:00, and is at the Cambridge YMCA Theater on Mass Ave, just outside Central Square.

*dusting this off to rant about Glee*
Killer Kitty
jenwrites
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

SERIOUSLY?!?Collapse )

Further ranting welcome in the comments.

Woefully behind and no hope of catching up
Me
jenwrites
So I let myself get behind on LJ again, and gave up at the 130 mark. Ugh. Sorry if I missed anything major. I'd keep going, but I waste enough time online as it is, and I really need to get in some dance practice, damn it. I've been pretty lax at it of late, and I have to remember that there's no way to get good without putting in the hours. It can't all be costumes and performances. Not unless I want to become one of those stagnant dancers who everyone shakes their head at when they're not looking.

I'm not writing much, either, but that's an entirely different issue. I'm going to try to spend some time on that this evening. I've got a story in the works for an invitational anthology, and I just let all of the steam out of it in the last few hundred words I added to the piece. I need to spend some time tonight reminding myself of rising consequences and all that shit that used to come so easily. Writing is about many things, but being kind to your characters is not one of them. I'd get that as a tattoo, but I think it would confuse people who watched me dance. Plus, I'd have to put it on my body upside down if I wanted it to be easy for me to read.

On atheist grieving
Me
jenwrites
(Cross-posted from Facebook.)

In general, I'm very comfortable with my atheism, but the one place where I find it lacking in comparison to large-scale religions is when it comes to grief. And I don't mean the whole "I wish I could believe in an afterlife" thing -- I mean their established rituals of grief. When a Catholic relative dies, I know there'll be a service and a burial within a few days. I may find myself getting angry as the priest talks about eternal life and how I'll meet my loved one again, but I still draw great comfort from the ability to grieve with friends and family in a structured environment while the loss is still raw and fresh. I even draw a strange comfort from driving in the funeral procession, watching as traffic stops to acknowledge a life cut short.

But when an atheist dies, or someone from a smaller, less-codified religion dies, it's all up in the air. Will there be a service? What kind? How will I need to dress for it? How long after the death will it take place? Will I be able to cry publicly and get some desperately-needed catharsis, and then will there be a place to go afterwards to be social and remember that life goes on? Will the body be there so we can say goodbye? Will I even be invited?

I understand that one of the perks of atheism is being able to make your own path, but I can't help but feel that we and the folks in eclectic religions should take a lesson from large-scale organized religions and have a remembrance template. It should be something simple, like, "Within a week of a loved one's death, we will gather in a somber place to grieve for them for exactly one hour. And then we will go somewhere afterwards to have pie and whiskey and tell happy stories and let ourselves smile again. And we will be sure to open it to anyone who knew the deceased, because they probably touched more lives than we realized." I'd really like to have that guarantee when a loved one dies. And I suspect I'm not alone in that.

Are there any other atheists or heathens who want to sign on to this template idea?

(This is something that's been bubbling in my head since my father's death, but Julie Waters' death made it crystalize.)

Machine stuff and the belly dance book launch
Me
jenwrites
Firstly, my crazy "belly dance to Irish music in a bookstore" event is this Saturday:

http://socialweb.net/Events/138260.lasso

Machine's been getting more and more buzz of late, partly due to me writing a few guest essays:

http://suvudu.com/2012/03/guest-essay-machine-author-jennifer-pelland-on-mechanical-immortality.html

http://blog.outeralliance.org/archives/917

(There's at least two more of those coming.)

Also? I made io9:

http://io9.com/5892369/in-machine-a-woman-deals-with-loss-in-a-world-of-biomechanical-immortality

That doesn't suck at all :)

Belly dance! Irish music! Literature!
Me
jenwrites
So, this St. Patrick's Day, I'm going to bellydance to Irish music in a green costume at Annie's Book Stop in Worcester to promote Machine. Why? Because I can.

http://socialweb.net/Events/138260.lasso

See you there?

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