erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
All the books except a couple I am reading, and the ones I'm using for Irish and Italian study are packed, along with several boxes of binders and papers. There are 54 of them. They are now all in the garage.

Jade came by again today and was a total champion box packer. Patrick did a ton of cleaning and will be back again tomorrow for more. My next door neighbor Sally helped out a little bit, as well, which I really appreciated. Someone came and picked up the TV. I had posted the TV as a free giveaway on craigslist (because really, nobody wants to pay for them these days, when the thin screens are so much more available and smaller and lighter). I got two inquiries and, as the inquiries were coming in, I actually got an email from some dick saying "if it's one of the big ones, nobody wants those". I mean who the fuck sits around on craigslist all day sending messages to people saying nobody wants stuff? Really? Does this person have no life whatsoever? *headdesk* Needless to say, the troll was wrong.

Anyway, I have posted an ad for my cargo bike. I'm selling it for $500 because I can't ride it anymore due to the dizziness. If you know anyone who might be interested, please pass the link along.

I will probably be doing just a little more sorting and packing of art and whatnot tonight before I go to bed. Tomorrow, more sorting and packing art and stuff, then [ profile] randwolf is coming by about 1:30 to stuff things into his truck and take me down to Seattle to rent the storage unit. He'll bring me back up here afterwards and I'll give him some gas money.

I'm probably going to need to get rid of a few of the bookshelves I have, though I have not yet decided which ones. I'll need a couple in Seattle, I'm guessing -- the smaller ones if I'm in a studio just for a couple of months. If I end up having to stay, then I'll want at least a couple of the larger ones, too, but at any rate, they'll need to be in the storage unit until things are sorted for me about whether I'm staying in Seattle or going to Italy.

The place right now is both emptier and, paradoxically, rather more cluttered at the moment than it has been in a long time. Part of that is just that I've had to remove things from shelves and walls and haven't had a place to put them yet, so a lot of it is piled up on the table or on the back of one of the couches. Friday Sonia is supposed to come over for the mattress and box springs. I'll be posting the ad for the bed frame once I can take photos of it. I forgot to ask Sally what the condo policy on garage sales is. I'm not sure I can actually have one here, but if I can, then I'll set up for a couple of weekends from now and just post some ads and hope people will come and buy bits and pieces of my non-ritual things. I have a lot of stuff like vases and decorative stuff and way too many mugs that I could do with getting rid of without just giving it all away. Any money at all that comes in from it would be very welcome.

I know I'm rambling a lot about this lately, but it really is kind of eating my life, as one would expect from having to deal with something like this. I'm so blessed with good friends who are willing to come and put in some heroic effort to help me out. So thank you again, my friends! You are the best!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (The Pupulator)
I’m passing this along for a fellow member of Veterans For Peace. If you’re able to help out even a little, that would be fantastic. Please pass the word, this is really a worthy project. Even a few dollars will help.

Hi! My name is Genevieve Gaea. I’m a female disabled veteran with PTSD, TBI related, and mobility issues from military service. I’m also a member of VFP nationally and of our local chapter VFP 099 here in Asheville, NC. The VA has discontinued their service dog program and so I am looking to my community for assistance.

My current service dog (god bless her little heart) must retire. She has Arthritis and just can’t keep up like she used to. She’s been working now since around Katrina… hard to remember the specific date but that’s a really unforgettable milestone. We moved here from New Orleans about 1.5 years ago because I never ever wanted to see another hurricane as long as I lived. LOL

Anyway, the new dog is going to be ready to pick up in Florida in March but they need compensation for her expenses and I’ll have to get together traveling money and a companion to make the trip with me because I hate just driving 20 minutes across town to the VA hospital. It’s too much with my anxiety. But with this motivation of being able to come and go again somewhat more freely with the new dog, I have to figure out how to do it even if I have to drive from one telephone pole to the next until I get to Florida, right? LOL

Lexi is the new dog’s name and she comes from a reputable trainer and breeder. She’s a German Sheppard which is also a benefit to me since my mobility issues are getting progressively worse I need a taller bigger dog for balance and helping me up when I fall which is unfortunately happening far too often for a 41 year old. I tell people when they ask what is it like to have a brain injury “it’s like being eternally drunk, but without the fun.” Anyway, I’m really excited, and I’m doing what I can to fund raise.

It’s going to probably be around $2000. Lexi’s medical cost is $1000 and I will have to outfit her with gear and make the trip plus stay in a hotel to make the adjustment. Usually they make you train with the dog for 2 weeks on location but since I’ve had a service dog before and I suffer from such bad anxiety they have promised I don’t have to do the whole ordeal. Otherwise, I bet a hotel would cost a lot more. I don’t know I haven’t stayed in a hotel in years. But I’m doing my part. I just need some help from some people willing to assist.

It’s only been a couple of days since I found out I had been chosen to match up with Lexi. Lexi was previously trained for two autistic children but she had to be returned so that’s why she can be trained for my specific problems in such a short time. She has the basics already. So far I’ve gotten my Step mother and my dad to donate $50 each. Some of my friends have promised to donate but those haven’t arrived yet. The manager at Kmart is promising to allow me to sit out one weekend in front of the store in January but I have to get volunteers to help me do that too. It’s going to be a trial to be exposed publicly for hours like that without moral support. Still waiting to line up the exact day so I can try to find companions.

People have been really supportive. I’ve made dozens and dozens of ribbons to pin on donaters. Some of them say “Service dogs Rock!” But my arthritis started acting up so I guess I’ll just tell people what they are for. I think people like to get something for their donation and I want people to be proud of the help they give because they are doing something really great. Service dogs do rock!

I don’t know what you can do but friends have suggested to me that if I could get my story out to more people that more people would help because if people knew the trouble I was having they would want to help. I don’t expect any one person to help more than they can but if everyone helped a little I’d get to my goal faster. Thanks for your time and consideration, GG

PayPal donations can be sent to
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
This year, the city of Auburn (which holds apparently the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi) had decided that even though they were going to allow a Corvette club and a daffodil festival float into the veterans day parade, they didn't want Veterans For Peace marching, because that would be in conflict with the purpose of the parade.

From the ACLU Washington website, The Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace has participated in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade since 2006. Yet the city denied the veterans group’s application to march in the 2012 parade, claiming that the city chose only those applicants which most closely meet the purpose and goals of the parade. At the same time, the city has approved applications from a motorcycle club, a Corvette club, the Optimists and Kiwanis International, the Sons of Italy, and a Daffodil Festival float. The US District court ruled in favor of the VFP, and today I went down to march with the group. This necessitated getting up way early, despite having barely been able to close my eyes last night. I'm hoping to actually sleep tonight to maybe make up for some of it.

The Seattle Times reported on our participation. I saw reporters from KING 5 and KIRO 7 (I talked to the KIRO people while we were marching), and was told that Q13 was also there covering our participation. KING 5 has a short segment up on their website from this evening's broadcast. I can be seen in the first few seconds of film and the two photos in the gallery, off at the far right of the column, just behind the peace flags, carrying a VFP flag. I haven't seen the KIRO broadcast yet, so I don't know if any of the interview with me was used.

Our reception was almost entirely very positive. There were a couple of people who booed when we went by, but we were thanked for coming by quite a few people along the route. At one point, four guys who were standing next to some Civil War reenactors turned their backs to us, but I didn't see that as being any big deal.

The reporter asked me if I was bothered by that and I said not particularly. She asked what I thought about it and I said, well, it's their right. And, of course, that's exactly what we were doing in the parade today - expressing our first amendment rights and offering a challenge to the extreme militarization of American society. Four guys turning their backs on us along a parade route isn't even a pimple on the backside of the flotilla of grey whales that comprise "things in this world that disturb me." Nobody was violent, nobody was shouting slurs, nobody was trying to prevent us from walking along the street like every other group. I don't see what the harm could possibly be, and my feelings just aren't that delicate, thank you.

There were maybe about 40 of us in the VFP contingent. I had some lovely conversations with people both before and after the parade. We stood around for about an hour at the staging area, then marched a mile or mile and a half down the parade route, which I then had to walk back to the car. We all met up at a BBQ place for lunch afterwards but, with all the closed off roads in Auburn, finding it was kind of like running a maze. Thankfully, both a little paper map and my phone's map app allowed me to get there in a reasonable amount of time. I think there were about 34 or so of us at the restaurant.

I talked with several people about my trip to Europe this summer, as they were planning their own trips to various places for next year at different points. It was nice to be able to share some of my experiences so that they would find it a little easier to do the traveling themselves, a little less expensively.

I'd hoped that I could go dancing with [ profile] gra_is_stor this evening when I got home, but I didn't even get here until around 4:30, and by that time I'd started a headache (I think the barbeque sauce had something in it that triggered one), and within an hour or so, the idea of trying to move my legs much was a bit beyond me for the rest of the night. She didn't actually end up going tonight either, not feeling very well, but we'll try to get together tomorrow evening for some fireside snuggling after I get back from the veterans day dinner I'm going to with some of the women I've met at the VA in my group.

Overall, a pretty good day. If I find a clip from KIRO tomorrow, I'll post a link to that, too, whether or not I make an appearance in it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Oiche Shamhna)
Things got done well and in time, with folks showing up about when they were supposed to. Sadly, [ profile] ingvisson wasn't able to come today, but [ profile] gra_is_stor was feeling well enough to come and attend most of it. She had to beg out of parts of the ritual due to her health not being up to it, but she did stay for a while afterwards for talking and snuggles.

The food was really fantastic (if I do say so myself) - roast chicken that turned out with beautifully crispy skin, gravy, roasted parsnips with herbed feta, steamed green beans, goat cheese brie, gluten-free cornbread, marinated and sauteed portabella mushrooms, rosemary bread, a cabernet-sauvignon and a chianti, and for dessert, baked pears with cinnamon and ginger, with fresh whipped cream with cinnamon. Tea included some really nice pumpkin-spice creme liqueur that was actually very tasty, brought along by Gary and Melody.

We lit a fire, had candles for the ancestors, and carved turnips into little lanterns. Folks enjoyed the ritual, and really loved the food. I was happy to be able to provide, and I have a good bit of really nice chicken for later, and can make chicken stock from the bones. It was well worth the time and effort that I put into planning and cooking. For those interested, the ritual text is below the cut.

If you're interested in the ritual, it's here. )

PCon stuff

Sep. 14th, 2012 03:18 am
erynn: Gaelic merman image (get pagan sinfest)
Today's VA group was good. I enjoy being with everyone and talking about the topics we explore. I had things at home I wanted to do today so I drove home directly rather than going up to the hill. Before I got home, I stopped at the store and got a little laser pointer to use on Saturday.

When I got home, I had several bits of email of note. [ profile] druid_medb and [ profile] joyful_storm had both send me the draft proposals for the joint sessions/panels that we had discussed so we could get them out for the deadline on the 15th. I also got an email from Tony M about a potential ritual, but had to offer only a tentative acceptance on that one. There are a lot of unresolved issues around the situation at the moment and I want to be sure that it's properly handled before I say yes.

I also got an email from [ profile] finnchuill, whose friend Neeli Cherkovski read over my book. He says Neeli liked it and wants to give the publisher a quote for it, though he's in Austria and Italy for some poetry festivals and it may be a bit. I've put [ profile] finnchuill in touch with Jason and Leslie from Hiraeth so they can arrange the details.

Tomorrow I have my VA appointment for the orthotics. I need to put the publicity cards on a sheet and get some printed out for the EBC. I'm going to stay down in Seattle tomorrow after my appointment, as the EBC opening party is tomorrow evening down in Pioneer Square. I'm not quite sure how to do that, but I'll see what I can do. It shouldn't take too much longer. I need to be up at 11am tomorrow morning, though.

[ profile] gra_is_stor got the keys to her new place today and has given me one as well. She'll be moving in most of the weekend but will be at the EBC with me on Saturday, at least.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (tree of life)
I remember July 21st, 1969.

We all sat in the living room, late at night, glued to the television. In that moment, it felt like every set on the planet was tuned in to the same thing -- Neil Armstrong, stepping on the surface of the moon, the first human in history to set foot on another celestial body. I watched with so much wonder, wanting to do that myself when I grew up. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of that night, of what I saw, and I suspect I'm not alone. It was an indelible moment of my childhood.

Neil Armstrong died today, at the age of 82.

What is remembered, lives.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Keep Calm & Grow a Mustache)
I finished choosing readings today. That took several hours and dredging through several dozen books of poetry for thing on the themes that I wanted to explore. All this for three poems, today. My shoulders and back are a mess from all of it and I've just finished sipping a lovely gin & tonic (Hendricks, which is really my preferred gin these days) so I'm not hurting quite so badly.

In addition to all of this, I sent off the links and selections from the Dindshenechas and such to the list, broken down into each day's destinations and themes. It was a fairly hefty chunk of stuff, which is why I sent it in seven posts, so they could be dealt with one at a time when folks wanted to. I also sent them my essay from Mandragora with a link and a request for them to buy the paperback or the ebook edition if they liked the material, so I'm hoping that'll generate a few sales, at least.

[ profile] joyful_storm emailed asked if I wanted to go do some shopping for travel clothes (lightweight stuff that can be easily laundered in a sink and will dry quickly), so that's what I'll be doing for a few hours this weekend. I do need to get stuff that will be lightweight and manageable for my carryon bag.

The podiatry clinic finally called back and I've rescheduled an appointment for late August. I need to remember to get x-rays before I go in, but I'll have enough time when I get home to do that. I may just go in early next Wednesday before my shrinkage and deal with it then.

Tomorrow I'll be working on transcribing the poems I've chosen for the readings and putting them into a little booklet with the various meditations and writing exercises so that I'll have a reference and won't have to haul a stack of books with me when I'm traveling. I'm still hoping to hear back from Jhenah soon so that we can talk rituals and whatnot. I need to know what she will want/be able to do while we're over there so I know how much other stuff I need to work on.

Thanks to [ profile] blindwebster, I now have crash space in Sacramento before the festival. This means I won't be spending an extra night out at the campsite, where it's bloody cold at night. Not that I dislike camping or the company I'd be in, but I would like to at least enjoy one nice, warm night in California before I freeze my buns off in a tent. It'll be nice to visit with her, as well, as I only ever get to see her briefly at PantheaCon every year, if our paths happen to cross.

I appreciate everyone's kind words and encouragement lately. I never feel like I'm going to do things right when it comes to a big, important presentation. I know I tend to feel overwhelmed when I'm planning for PantheaCon, and this is larger than that by a magnitude of a bunch, even counting that year when I did eight sessions/rituals/panels over the long weekend. This is a week solid of Erynn being on pretty much all the time. I'm worried about being up to it. I know for the most part I'll probably be okay, but I think everybody here has guessed that I want to dazzle folks and be the absolute best at what I'm doing, and that may well be where I fall down. *sigh* My expectations for myself are always about ten times higher than everyone else's.

And now, to curl up with some fic and try to rest my neck and shoulders a bit, for they are achey sumbitches.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (gull at sunset)
I called the restaurant today and they did, indeed have my scarf so I stopped there on the way to the VA today. Group was pretty good, though the weather all day was kind of craptastic. I headed over to Travelers, where I ran into Dana. She'll be coming up to my place for the Lovecraft movies. Apparently the 13th is [ profile] nathan_fhtagn's birthday, which I did not know when I was scheduling things, so I told her to let him know if he'd got back to me I'd have scheduled it for a different day (nyaah). She was heading over there after Travelers and they were on their way to a rehearsal. Given that [ profile] meddevi will be in Seattle sometime soonish, I'll schedule another showing so that they can come. I can't imagine not wanting to see the movies again, after all!

I've currently got 9 people wanting to come to the movie evening, so I've maybe got room for three more. One wanted to know if there would be calamari. I said if anyone brought some, there would absolutely be calamari! Anyway, once I get a total headcount, I'll send out a note asking folks to bring things for snackies and if they'd like something other than booze or tea or water to drink, to please bring that, as well.

I still haven't finished filling out the paperwork for the tax exemption, but I figure I'll do that tomorrow at some point, probably after the Comcast tech heads out. I have no idea if the tech will be able to fix the problem, but at least an attempt will be made.

[ profile] nancyblue got me in touch with her friend on the Isle of Man, so I've sent off an email and will see if she contacts me in return. I let her know what I was likely to be doing there, and something about the research I'd done toward finding sites. I hope that she'll be amenable to meeting with me.

Overall, it was a pretty good day. I got some needful stuff done, I'm not entirely too achy, and I might be able to get a little sleep tonight before the Comcast tech comes tomorrow, if I'm lucky. While the tech's busy with fiddling around on the computer, I'll probably take some time to do more work on pilgrimage stuff. So much remains to be done. I need to respond to some stuff on the pilgrimage email list, as well.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
That's okay, though, as I actually managed to get a fair bit done. I'd been planning to go to a party with [ profile] gra_is_stor, but she had something come up, and I was feeling very achy and migrainey anyway, so we mutually decided that we'd stay put where we were.

It took several hours for me to feel like something vaguely human, but I worked on the Circle of Stones galley and got it back to my publisher and editor. I will admit that my examination was very superficial. I couldn't have looked for remaining typos if you'd paid me; I just didn't have anything like enough focus. I also received both of the remaining review blurbs for the cover today and sent them along as well. I'm very excited by what everyone had to say, and am deeply grateful to my friends for being willing to write them up at such short notice.

The other thing that I did today was purchase my train ticket from Rennes to the de Gaulle airport in Paris. Sadly, I won't be able to spend any time in the city - the train station is apparently right there at the airport and I'll be dashing off to check in for my flight to Prague. I'm relieved to get that done at last, though. Now the only remaining transportation issues are trains in England, which aren't available as yet.

I also did some consolidating of names of people I'm doing things for over there, including prayers at the wells and whatnot. I've got a request for a trees or plants field guide from a good friend, and am happy to do that for her, given that wandering through bookshops is high on my list of Things To Do while I'm not otherwise occupied.

Tomorrow I'm heading down to Seattle for Metropolis. The showing is at 12:30 and I'll need to set my alarm to be up by 9am. We'll probably watch the movie, grab some lunch, and then I'll head home, as I can't imagine I'm going to feel a whole lot better tomorrow than I did today. I've rested my shoulder enough off and on today that it's no longer agonizing, but it's still pretty painful, and it's (sadly) not the only thing bothering me. I really ought to do laundry when I get home tomorrow, too. I'd been wanting to do some today but wasn't even feeling up to hauling the basket from the bedroom out to the laundry closet. Dealing with wet clothes and then contemplating the whole drying and putting them away schtick was really too much. Making food and washing dishes was about the extent of the physical activity I was up for today.

Since I have to get up early tomorrow, I ought to get a last bit of food and take my pills, then drop myself into the bed. I'm pretty sure going to Seattle tomorrow is likely to be exhausting.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
There are any number of things that could be said about this, of course. As I noted previously here, I will be traveling to Ireland as a part of a Brigid-focused pilgrimage. There are moments when it all feels so overwhelming.

Preparations of all kinds need to be made: transportation, study, developing the exercises and workshops and rituals that we as a group will be undertaking, making sure I have everything I'll need to pack along, devotional work and rituals in preparation for leaving, dealing with photography along the way, finding ways to cope with my fears and anxieties surrounding travel, and figuring out ways to finance the travel I'll be doing after the Irish part of the pilgrimage but before I return home, among many other things.

A pilgrimage is an opening to mystery. It is opening oneself to a time and a place, to people, to imbas, to the touch of deities and spirits. I'm throwing myself into the stream of life, hoping I will be carried to a deep and meaningful experience, even if it takes a long time to understand what has happened and why after I return home from the journey. Yet, even in throwing myself into the experience with wonder and abandon, preparation is essential.

I know there are those who feel that study and scholarship are antithetical to the kind of experience I'm seeking in this journey, a barrier to directly touching those things and beings I seek. To those people I offer that preparation and study are a part of what allows me to immerse myself in the experience when I am there. It means that I am able to better understand all the things I'm seeing, the spiritual currents, the voices of power and place that I may encounter. Study and scholarship offer context and a map to at least some of the territory being explored.

Without good preparation, it is possible to become lost, whether physically or spiritually. Lack of good preparation can leave someone stranded by a roadside, out of gas and without money for a place to stay the night, even should assistance arrive in the form of a local who can drive you to the nearest town. Being cold and wet while doing a ritual outdoors in an isolated place in poor weather can make even the best-designed rite an uncomfortable or even illness-producing experience. Without taking the time to learn something of the customs of a place, it's possible to give offense without intending to or to damage in some way the very thing which we seek to honor.

Creating and cultivating an appropriate attitude toward the work is also an important part of the preparation. Approaching the sacred might be as simple as taking a walk along an ancient trail, but doing so mindfully is part of the art of the act. Singing quiet prayers along the way changes the experience profoundly.

When I leave Ireland after the group pilgrimage, my own personal pilgrimage is not over. I'll be traveling to the Isle of Man alone before continuing on to visit friends in England and Europe, and finally staying with my brother in Italy. For me, the Isle of Man portion of the journey is just as important spiritually, for Manannán is another deity who is extremely important to me. My plans include camping for a week on the island, with trail walking, exploring heritage sites, and possibly attending part of a Manx and Celtic traditional music festival that will be taking place part of the time I'm visiting. The fact that I'll be camping will save me a fair bit of money, but it also means a lot of advance preparation of the sort I would have to make for any camping trip, and dealing with updates to some of my equipment and arranging to ship my gear home when I'm done on Mann. I also need to be prepared to find a hostel if my body can't hold up to a week's sleeping on the ground in a tent after having already been traveling in Ireland, or if my health otherwise fails.

In traveling and intending to write about my journeys and keep my family and friends updated, I have to be aware of access to things like wireless internet, dealing with overseas phone and data issues, and keeping expensive electronics gear reasonably safe while I'm on the road. Even this is a part of the pilgrimage and has to be properly prepared for. If the physical aspects of the journey are dealt with properly, the spiritual aspects will flow much more easily and my mind and heart can be devoted to the spiritual work and openness to serendipity, rather than worrying about what might go wrong.

If you would like to support my pilgrimage but cannot journey with me, I invite you to make a donation of any size toward my travel, food, and lodging if you feel called to do so. Your generosity would be most deeply appreciated and will help offset the basic costs of getting from place to place and feeding myself after I leave Ireland. I know how very blessed I am to be able to make this journey at all, and I am very excited to be able to share part of it with you through my writing and the photos I'll be taking.

Thank you!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
I was just out checking the mail and what should appear in my box but my contributor's copy of Disability and Religious Diversity: Cross-Cultural and Interreligious Perspectives from Palgrave Macmillan. I haven't had time to go through it yet, but I'm all excited to have yet another piece in print, particularly in an academic book. I feel very proud and excited to have made it into such a collection, particularly given my lack of higher education. I've taken a couple of stray college classes over the years, but even by the most generous estimate, I haven't even got a first year's worth of credits for any of it. I see it as an affirmation of my hard work and my discipline as a writer and researcher that my work was seen as being of good enough quality to be included, and to have received so little editing from the editorial team.

Today's email also brought notice that contributors to the Datura anthology from Scarlet Imprint will be receiving a contributor's copy of that volume, which pleases me greatly. Many thanks to Ruby Sara and to the folks at Scarlet Imprint for this -- it's very much appreciated.

I've been a bit headachy so far today, so these were both very nice things that have helped to balance out the health ick. Thank you world!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
This evening I went with [ profile] gra_is_stor to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for a reading by two Chinese poets and the release of the anthology Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China. I headed down early because it was a warm, sunny day, and spent an hour or so sitting at a picnic table in the park while reading essays from Heroic Poets and Poetic Heroes and taking copious research notes. About 6:30, [ profile] gra_is_stor met me in Volunteer Park and we headed into the museum for the reading. We were actually the first people seated and one of the guys from Copper Canyon Press came over to talk with us. I told him that I'd been looking forward to the reading and that I'd heard about it through Copper Canyon and Elliott Bay's email. He expressed appreciation for poetry readers and I said that I ought to like reading poetry, given that I was a poet and had a wall full of poetry books at home. I noted I would have loved to purchase the anthology, but was flat broke at the end of the month. He said he'd give me a copy -- and he actually did! I was quite delighted, so thank you Joseph Bednarik of Copper Canyon for your kindness! I was able to get the book signed by the two poets at the end of the evening as well.

The reading itself was fascinating and I learned quite a bit about Chinese poetry, particularly from Xi Chuan's introductions to some of the poems he read by other poets in the anthology. He has quite a sense of humor and some of his work was very amusing; he read one from the anthology and two other pieces from one of his other works. His answer to Nietzsche was particularly funny, I thought. Zhou Zan is an advocate of women's poetry in China and has been the editor of the women's poetry journal Wings for many years, as well as being a poet and the translator of some of the poetry of Margaret Atwood. She read her own poems and several poems from the anthology by other women poets.

I talked briefly to the poets when I got my copy of the anthology signed. They were asking for people's names so that they could personalize them and I wrote mine down briefly because it's an unusual spelling. They asked what kind of a name it was and I said it was Irish but spelled funny. They said that it could actually be construed as a Chinese name with a rough translation of something like "your plough," which I thought was pretty funny. Perhaps I cultivate the fields of memory.

My contract from Hiraeth arrived today. I just need to make sure they use my whole name in the contract (if they send me an editable pdf I can correct it myself) and sign and date the thing and we are go for a 2012 publication! The date is yet to be determined, but definitely next year. We'd been discussing autumn, but that decision will be up to the press when they have next year's schedule together. It's early yet to tell.

I got into a lengthy conversation/rant in twitter today with one of my friends about ebooks. He was complaining that he'd spent $50 on a book and wanted the ebook of it for free. His argument was that he'd already paid for the book so why should he have to pay for a second format?

My answer was that if he wanted a hardbound and a paperback, he'd have to pay for both of those formats. If he wanted an audiobook, he'd end up paying for that, too. He argued that an audiobook required people to actually read the book, and therefore it was worth something. Apparently he believes that there is either no work or no intrinsic value in an ebook, and therefore he shouldn't have to pay for it. He did accuse me of being greedy and wanting people to pay multiple times for the same material.

If an author wants to package a print and ebook copy as the same sale, more power to them. If they want to give things away for free, I'm fine with that. On the other hand, an author's work is worth something, no matter what format it's in.

He pulled someone else into the discussion and then asked me if I wanted to do away with used bookshops, too. I said that, in the end analysis, someone had actually paid for the books in the used bookshop at one point, unless the books were remaindered. Of course, with the rise of print on demand publishing, remainders may soon be a thing of the past, so any book in a used bookshop would of necessity have been previously paid for. Yet nobody walks into a used bookshop and walks out with a bag full of free books -- you do pay for them used.

What about libraries? I was asked. They're stealing a ton of revenue from authors, too. Isn't it really just the same if you buy a cd and upload the sound file to a website where anyone can download it? Aren't you just sharing it the same way you would a library book?

No, not really. A library pays for the copy and loans it out, but it always comes back. If you keep the library book, they charge you late fees and, eventually, a replacement fee if you don't return it. Regardless of what happens, there is only one copy -- paid for -- running around. The author still got paid for it. If you buy a cd and rip it, then upload it so all your friends can have it, it's no longer one copy of something, it's a dozen copies or a thousand copies, or ten thousand copies, and the artist never sees a penny of any of those. He felt that making copies was not an ethical problem at all because it's not a copy of something physical, it's just bits in the aether. But it's still someone's hard work and they deserve to be compensated, no matter how many copies we're talking about.

He then went on to say that just because the publishers are screwing the authors, does that mean the readers should get screwed too? I asked him why the authors and readers couldn't get together to change the way that major publishers do things, and he had no answer for that. Major publishers are making money at the expense of both authors and readers; small presses and independent authors are barely scraping by most of the time. But apparently I'm tilting at windmills for caring about the people who are actually writing.

He said if writing paid so badly, nobody should try to make a living at it. Authors should negotiate better contracts -- yet the publisher holds almost all the power in those situations, and a writer isn't necessarily going to get a better deal at some other publisher. Self-publishing is still very poorly regarded because so much of it is crap. Being able to be published by an actual press is still a meaningful thing, even if the technology is enabling individuals to publish their own work. If they're able to do a professional job without a publisher, more power to them. I've self-published before. I prefer to let somebody else do the bulk of the publishing work, so I do my best to have material that is good enough for someone else to want to publish it.

All that said, I don't think that's the point -- my point is that if nobody pays the authors, authors are going to have to stop writing for publication because they're going to have to be earning their living some other way. They won't have the time or the energy to write at all anymore, or they will write far less than they already do. Writers, musicians, and artists still have to pay rent and pay the bills, they still have to eat and maybe occasionally get some medical care. They have to buy clothes and put gas in the car if they have one. The work of artists and musicians and writers isn't worthless or valueless and there is no reason they should be expected to work for free. The vast majority of writers I know either work at other jobs as well as writing, or they have some other means of income. Most of them don't make a living writing. I certainly don't, but I have a pension that means I'm able to write and not worry about starving to death.

I don't think that copyright should extend beyond an author's death. That serves only the publishing house or the corporation that owns it, not the author.

I don't have nearly as much of an issue with, for instance, a homeless kid who is desperate for music or for something to read downloading a copy of something for free. They don't have anything to spend, and I would just as soon give somebody like that a copy with the hope that it will make their lives a little more comfortable, or at least tolerable.

I do have a problem with a person who has a job and can afford what he needs (including a $50 book) complaining about having to spend a few more dollars for another copy of the same material. Just because you have an entire library of paper books and want to replace them doesn't entitle you to free electronic copies any more than having a collection of VHS tapes entitled you to free DVDs when they came out.

I was told that the world disagreed and was voting with their feet, that I was tilting at windmills. (When have I ever not been tilting at windmills?) I was told that I was really just supporting a model created by publishers that didn't serve readers or authors. Laws don't matter, he said.

Maybe, maybe not. I still advocate paying authors for the work they do. Nobody should be forced to work for free.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (gir explode)
I have a beyond-dead kingsized waterbed mattress that requires hauling to a dump. Anybody out there got a pickup truck to help me with that? You would earn a pizza and my undying gratitude.

No, really, this thing is beyond salvaging at this point. It must go.

erynn: Gaelic merman image (Boys will be rapists)
My presentation today went very well. Both [ profile] martianmooncrab and [ profile] alfrecht were there with me, as was [ profile] danicia's mom, who was the programming director for this year's con. She actually introduced me and was extremely interested in the presentation as she, like [ profile] martianmooncrab, retired from the Navy as a chief. There were two other women in attendance, one of whom was an attorney who took cases like this against the system. There were about a dozen or fifteen people who showed up, and one guy from the Coast Guard had a lot of good stuff to say and was really wonderful as a participant. It was very much an open discussion session, more than just me lecturing, and that felt really good. We did have the obligatory clueless guy asking stuff like "what about people who file false reports" (yes, it happens, but considering what happens to people who report at all, anyone reporting falsely on stuff like this has to be insane to pursue it) and "what can we tell women when they're going in the military so they can avoid being assaulted?" (oh, hey, let's teach women how not to be raped -- yeah, let's teach men to keep it in their pants, fuck you very much).

One guy was a sex educator and he was extremely interested in this whole topic. He suggested that I talk to the various organizations for sexologists and sex educators/therapists about the topic, as he said he's been going to conferences for those organizations for something like 15 years, and he's never heard anyone speak on the topic before at all. Apparently, getting some education out there to the educators would be a good idea. It might be something I could do from time to time. He gave me his card, and info on the two organizations that he's a member of, so we'll see what happens with that. If I'm able to handle the idea, it could be very helpful to folks who are in the business of helping people recover from sexual traumas.

After my session, we went to [ profile] alfrecht's session on Celtic werewolves, which I think went over quite well. We were joined by [ profile] martianmooncrab's sister, and then the three of us went out for lunch. It was the Mooncrab's birthday today, so we celebrated that as well, then sister took off and the two of us returned to the con. We had some good conversations, one of which was with the national Mensa treasurer. He was handing out free scotch and doing glasses adjustments (I believe he's an optometrist in his daily life). We ended up having a long conversation with a table full of people about my talk, warrior issues, and other related stuff until the treasurer had to go to the national board meeting, but the conversation continued without him. One of the women at the table was a recently-divorced officer's wife who had been teaching stuff like The Art of War to officer candidates. Another woman had been talking with [ profile] alfrecht for a couple of hours after his presentation, and whose son is interested in working with people with PTSD, and is also very interested in Celtic topics, so the work we've been doing with the schmooze related to the warrior rituals really fascinated her.

Overall, it was an excellent day. I'll be going back again tomorrow by myself, and will then haul [ profile] alfrecht back over to his cousin's place at the end of the day. I'll be able to get the con parking rate for my car, since he's a registered guest of the hotel for the night.

Sunday will be my day to visit with the Portland folks I've been wanting to see. I need to make a couple of brief phone calls, but [ profile] siro_gravity, please get in touch with me and let me know when on Sunday you'd like to get together. Definitely shoot for afternoon if possible. Morning is going to be a bit much for me. [ profile] lupabitch, if you're no longer feeling the ick and not contagious, please let me know, as I'd love to see you as well. I also want to take some time to get together with Raevyn, whom I met at Eight Winds last weekend, and who is also in the area. Maybe we can coordinate something group-ish. I'm sure it would be a fascinating afternoon of talk and art, if that's the case!

My thanks to everyone who was so supportive today, both at the con and long distance. Your thoughts and good wishes were greatly appreciated.

And now, laundry.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
I'm back in Sacramento from the Eight Winds festival, staying for the night with [ profile] seanthedruid and his family. With any luck, tomorrow I'll have a little time to see [ profile] zortified before I head north for Crater Lake. I'm feeling creaky and crampy and so I'll have to decide when I get there whether or not I'll be up to camping, but I definitely plan on seeing the place instead of passing right by this time.

I got back into town in the afternoon, though there was a twenty minute backup on the highway leading out of the area. We camped at Prosser Ranch group campground, and about 50 people were in attendance. I had some wonderful conversations and met some great new people. It was really a delightful weekend and I'm thoroughly pleased to have been able to attend. I was asked to participate as one of the ritualists for a handfasting.

Seven photos here below. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Whitman: not all who wander)
I arrived in Redding at about 8:30, after a really gorgeous day on the road. It was extremely hot a fair bit of the way along. Probably from a little south of Eugene, and was still in the 90s when I checked in at the hotel.

There's a little Mexican place in the parking lot here where I grabbed some dinner. Wasn't vastly memorable or anything, but they seem to be all about the tequila, because they apparently have something like 500 varieties. Too bad I've never been into the stuff.

I spent the better part of two hours in Oregon City with [ profile] martianmooncrab having lunch and schmoozing a little before I hit the road. I should get into Sacramento tomorrow probably mid-afternoon. Weather report for the weekend has the campsite in the mountains in the high 70s for the days and into the mid- to high-40s at night, so it'll be pretty much like the weather we ought to be getting in the Seattle area, rather than the continuing drizzle we'd been having until just a couple of days ago.

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

The sib texted me at about 7:30 from Butte, Montana, where he was staying for the night. He didn't quite have it in him to continue the rest of the way to Bozeman, where he'd intended to finish up. The papers he'd been waiting for hadn't even been sent yet, so he called the woman at the office and told her to send them to the base instead and he'd pick them up there. Really crappy of her to keep him hanging like that and not even to have sent them out yet when he'd called. I just hope it's not a sign of other problems to come.

For now, I'm going to try to get some sleep. The insomnigrackles got me last night and I managed to lay down for about two and a half hours, but sleep evaded me. I headed out about 8:30am rather than 9:30 as I'd intended, but I was just as happy to do the last bit of the trip into Redding before it got dark. I drove from Portland with the window down, getting the full effect of the roadside plant life, from blackberry blossoms to pine trees to sagebrush at various stages along the way.

Despite that I was more or less on the road for about twelve hours, I had a really awesome day. I actually managed to see Mount St Helens for a change. I think this may actually have been the first time I was able to see it clearly, because every other time I've gone down that stretch of road, it's been hazed over, snowing, raining, dark, misty, or fill-in-the-blank obscuring the mountain. I got Rainier, St Helens and Shasta all on this trip in the daylight. At several points I saw deer grazing next to the highway, as well. Glorious!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
My neighbor that I called the aid car for last week is home again, as I think I noted a day or two ago. This morning she came by (the front shades were open - the sib was up but had gone out grocery shopping so she thought I was awake) to say thank you. She saw that she'd woken me and apologized, then said to please come over to her place once I was up for real, so I went back to bed for a few more hours (I hadn't got to bed until 6am) and then went over to see her once I had won the battle with gravity. She had apparently remembered being here, and me and the sib, but couldn't be sure she hadn't hallucinated us along with the other stuff that was happening, so it wasn't until Sally next door had talked to her that she was sure that part was real.

Anyway, we talked for about an hour, and she said that if there was ever anything she could do for me that I should just ask. She also noted that she'd worked for Holland America for years and that if I ever wanted to go on a cruise somewhere, she could get me her former employee rate on tickets, so I may take her up on that. It would be considerably cheaper to go that way on a cruise up to Alaska than to buy a ticket on my own. I know I'd love to see the inside passage and maybe get up there to see my cousin Cindy and her daughter. We've not had a chance to see one another since I had moved from my apartment in West Seattle to the house there, and that was the weekend I was moving.

I got out to do a little shopping and got all the stuff I need to make the ladoos I'd wanted to, though I didn't have the wherewithal to actually make them today. I also got mussels and clams for steamers, though the sib was down in Seattle for the Italian meetup this evening, so I put them in a pot of salt water and stuck them in the fridge so we can have them tomorrow with some corn on the cob. I got a cheap bottle of white wine to cook them in -- not anything I'd actually drink, but this is only for cooking, so it's not a problem.

Today I catalogued another 125 books or so and my back is all creaky from it. It's a lot of bending and stretching and moving around. I really need to do some laundry tomorrow and make the ladoos as well, though I'll probably shelve most of the books out here on the floor again before I do that. These were mostly books from my bedroom that need to be got out of the way.

[ profile] alfrecht is here; he arrived around 11:30 after a faculty dinner for Columbia College. He met a few folks who might be able to help him out in different directions, including one guy who has some property, has worked with native peoples, and has an interest in Celtic traditions who might actually be able to give the local CR group a place to do some work on the whole reconstruction of insular and continental Celtic sweat practices. They didn't have an immensely long conversation but the guy definitely sounded interested in the idea, from what [ profile] alfrecht said when he got here.

He's got to do some stuff tomorrow out in Marysville in the morning but should be done by about 3-ish, so if I'm coherent enough to drive, I'll probably go up and get him. There will be food. Sunday is the steampunk tea over at Maizie's place in Bothell. That should be a lot of fun.

And now I must evacuate the living room so that [ profile] alfrecht can get some sleep.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Book of Dreams)
I signed a contract today for the e-book version of Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom! It should be out within a year from today, according to the contract.

Also, Storm said that they would be interested in taking a look at the Brigid book, even though it's not the sort of thing they usually publish (spiritual rather than magical) because I sell so well and because people like my work. So, once I get that together, I have a publisher to take it to and we'll see what happens!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has come here talking about the PantheaCon situation and the larger issues, for keeping things so civil and being open to genuinely talking to each other and learning from each other. Having seen the vicious clusterfuck that has occurred in some places on the web as a result of this, I just have to tell you all how proud I am of you, even if you don't all agree with one another or with me.

Síocháin, y'all.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

September 2013



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