I’ve been having trouble with my internet in the room and complained multiple times to the hotel. They sent their engineer up–who announced as he came into the room, “I’m not particularly computer savvy.” Oh, how true that was. He poked at buttons on the computer and said, “I’ll have to close these windows,” and generally pretended to do something.
I continued to have no internet and to complain vigorously. They finally agreed to move me to another room. So during all of that, I didn’t do much blogging or work on my NaNo. Today, I got up and opened my novel for the first time, since he came in, so I could do some NaNoWriMo.
It consisted of the title page.
He had deleted the novel.
I hyperventilated for a second and then realized that I back up on a regular basis. Which means that I only lost half a page. I was ready to kill though. To their credit, the hotel recognized that this was a huge deal and that, even though it all turned out all right, they had really screwed up. They gave us one night for free.
Right. I got back to the U.S. yesterday and I’m leaving for Austin tomorrow. Will someone remind me of what I was thinking?
Here’s the first thirteen lines of Shades of Milk and Honey.
The Wentworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbors in every respect. Mr. Charles Wentworth, though a second son, through the generosity of his father the Baron of Foxgrove, had been entrusted with an estate in the neighborhood of Sussex. His only regret, for the estate was a fine one, was that it was entailed and, as he had only two daughters, was to pass to his elder brother’s son upon his death. Knowing that, he took pains to set aside some of the income each annum for the provision of his daughters.
The sum was not so large as he wished it might be, but he hoped it would prove enough to attract appropriate husbands for his daughters. Of his younger daughter, Melody, he had no concerns, for she had a face made for fortune. His older daughter, Jane, made up for her deficit of beauty with rare taste and talent in the womanly arts. Her skills at magic and glamour were surpassed by none in their neighborhood and lent their home a sense of wealth far beyond their means. But well he knew how fickle young men’s hearts were.
JÃ¦ja, I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to leave to the U.S. People keep asking me if I’m excited to be going home and I keep saying, “No.” Don’t get me wrong. There are people that I’m very much looking forward to seeing and things that I’ve missed about Portland, but sometime in the past year I had a shift in where I think “home” is. I also miss Rob already. The first three years of our marriage we were constantly apart because of work, but for the last two years we’ve been together. It’ll be a month and a half before I see him again. Am I excited to be going? No. I’ll miss my husband.
Well, mostly finished. I’m dropping him off at the seamstress’s tomorrow. She’ll make the doctor’s jacket for him as well as doing some finish work that I am much happier to delegate. Meanwhile, I will be getting on a plane and flying back to the States.
I stopped by Gummi Ãžor’s to show him the bear and he seemed very pleased. His house is still in full remodeling mode, so I think at least part of his happiness was just giddiness from lack of sleep. I then went to show IngÃ³lfur the bear and talk about the things that remain to be finished.
On the body my seamstress will:
Add fur to arms – (we needed to wait til jacket is finished to see how much arm is exposed.)
Make the Doctor’s jacket
Position velcro for holding doctor’s coat in place.
Add any extra fur to cover exposed areas or to provide a softer feel to the bear.
We had planned on having two sets of hands and feet so that one set could go to the dry cleaner’s without taking the bear out of commission, but have run out of the material. I’m going to try to order some more, hopefully enough to make an entire second bear.
I’m also going to make a new foam insert for the hands while I’m in the states. I’m not happy with the foam I had here, but the ones I’ve made will work just fine for the bear’s initial outings.
I’m packed, now I just need to get the bear fuzz out of my nose and go to sleep.
HARRY AND HIS BUCKET FULL OF DINOSAURS – Kristine Klohk/Helen Cohen/Graham Ralph (Collingwood O’Hare Entertainment/Silver Fox Films Ltd/CCI Entertainment/Five)
LAZY TOWN – Magnus Sheving, Jonathan Judge (Lazy Town Productions/Nick Jr)
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS – Paul Tibbitt, Vincent Walls, Alan Smart (United Plankton Pictures Inc/Nickelodeon UK)
It turns out that the reason I lost power yesterday was because the glue gun spontaneously developed a short. I blew power again today when I started installing the jaw. I’m off to buy a new one now. Grr.
Edited to add: Hurrah! The company runner is going to pick up a new glue gun since the gun belongs to them. I will switch over to the pelvis until he gets back.
An artist just asked me, “Is there anything you’re particularly fond of, any imagery that your magazine leans towards?”
Why, yes! Thank you for asking.
If we start with the belief that one is submitting work that is well-rendered, with an understanding of composition, or, as Beth puts it, art that is not lame, then there are some things that make art stand out for me. In general, I like a sense of movement, texture and story in art. For me, it needs to be communicating something, be that a mood or a moment. I look for an elegance of line and tend to respond well to texture.
Our tagline is “Speculative fiction for a miscreant world.” We do fantasy, science fiction and unclassifiable stories that tend toward funny, dark, strange or all three, so I look for illustrators who will fit with our stories. To quote our art submissions guidelines:
Weâ€™re looking for art that complements the stories we publish: speculative, original and compelling. For each issue, weâ€™re looking for one color piece for our cover, and a few black and white or grayscale pieces for the interior. We want art that tells a story and that pushes the boundaries of illustration in the same way speculative fiction pushes boundaries.
A few things to note that will improve your chances:
Know where the light source is coming from in your piece.
Please use a model or photo reference if you are trying for realism.
It is not enough to have a well-rendered figure; figures must be part of a strong composition.
I’m always curious; what do other people look for in art?
Round two of fiberglassing the bear went much better. The glass on thmpts in the morning after he left so the fumes would have a chance to dissapate. This is way I was not going to do the fiberglass work at the workshop.
Today I did the last of the fiberglassing for an audience of three. The three boys that live in my building and the next were fascinated by the crazy American crouching on the front porch with a toxic brew. If I hadn’t been racing the set time on the resin, I would have grabbed my camera and asked them to take process shots. This particular resin has a work time of about fifteen minutes. So I have to get as much glass laid as possible before the resin starts kicking.
After it cured, I pulled the clay out. In places like the snout, I had to use a spoon to scrape the pieces out. This is the point where you are desperately hoping that there’s not some mistake in the fiberglass, because you are destroying the sculpture. I was a little nervous as I was pulling the clay out, because the fiberglass made some alarming pop noises. If the fiberglass was brittle, it woud mean that I had put too much of the hardener in the resin. Fortunately, it turned out to be a leaf that had blown under the head (I was working outside, remember) and been fiberglassed to the back of the skull. Whew.
The fiberglass is translucent, but I’ll still have to cut the pupils of the bear out in order for the performer to see. Currently, I’m planning to use either scrim or sunglass lenses to cover the opening. I’ll have to see which looks better with the fur.
And here is a picture of me holding the bear head on. I don’t have the lower jaw installed here, although it’s fiberglassed, but you can see the proportions of the bear. I’ll take it in to the studio tomorrow for the next step in its construction.
I hope people I’ve inspired with my work would band together to help me out in my later years if I needed it. Which is at least part of the reason why I’m sending what I can to support cosmic thinking patriarch Robert Anton Wilson, whose infirmity and depleted finances have put him in the precarious position of not being able to meet next month’s rent.
In case the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, Bob is the guy who wrote Cosmic Trigger – still the best narrative on how to enter and navigate the psycho-spiritual realm, and co-wrote the Illuminatus Trilogy, an epic work that pushes beyond conspiracy theory into conspiracy practice. Robert Anton Wilson will one day be remembered alongside such literary philosophers as Aldous Huxley and James Joyce.
But right now, Bob is a human being in a rather painful fleshsuit, who needs our help. I refuse for the history books to say he died alone and destitute, for I want future generations to know we appreciated Robert Anton Wilson while he was alive.
Let me add, on a personal note, that Bob is the only one of my heroes who I was not disappointed to actually meet in person. He was of tremendous support to me along my road, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be of some support on his.
Any donations can be made to Bob directly to the Paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also send a check payable to Robert Anton Wilson to
Dennis Berry c/o Futique Trust
P.O. Box 3561
Santa Cruz, CA 95063.
To make the body, I started by creating a fullsize mockup of the bear’s torso. Next, I covered the form in cloth and established the basic fit. In this photo, I’m attaching the boning. Because I am making a pattern of the bear, I’ll pin everything into place, then label each piece of boning and remove it all. I’ll take measurements, cut the cloth apart to make a pattern and then rebuild it all. The bear has two types of boning, springsteel and plastic. The springsteel is stronger, but will be too stiff for areas like the arms and legs. It’s perfect for the large areas like the belly of the bear.
I got word this morning that Aoife’s Kiss would like to buy “Chrysalis.” I am very happy that this story has found a home.
Chrysalis : The Husiths undergo Chrysalis to become an adult, but the enzymes involved in the process scramble their memories. As a culture, they are obsessed with documenting their pupaehood, which is when the serious work takes place, before becoming a playful adult. Geroth is determined to put off his Chrysalis so he can finish his mathmatical treatise. He hires a human documentarian to help him retain his memories after Chrysalis. This documentarian struggles with deciding which memories, and thus which version of Geroth’s life she should present.
Here are the first thirteen lines. The rest will be out in the December 2007 issue of Aoife’s Kiss.
People ask me if I ever get involved with the subjects of my documentaries. I have a difficult time imagining that they would ask my male colleagues the same question, but they seem to expect women to be more emotional. In response, I tend to grit my teeth and answer very patiently with another question. How could I do my job if I were part of the story? Only by maintaining a sacred distance could I have any hope of understanding someone’s life. A documentarian records, but does not participate.
That mantra was the only thing keeping me from gnawing my arm off with frustration while Geroth and Iliath had their latest spat. Iliath wanted Geroth to undergo Chrysalis. Geroth wanted to stave it off until he finished his mathematical treatise. Geroth and his betrothed brayed their points like sea-lions mating.
Once I had the life mask of Rob finished, I was ready to start the sculpture. My first step was to do a full size drawing of the bear to make certain that I had the proportions correct.
Gummi Ãžor had already done a sculpture to demonstrate how the proportions would have to change from the drawing in order to accomodate a human. Using the sculpture as a reference point, I created the large drawing. (I took a picture of this, but the pencil lines didn’t show up. Sorry.)
With that information in hand, I started sculpting. My challenge here is to make it look as much like the drawing as possible while meeting the requirements of fitting on a human head. I started by placing the bear’s eyes, two semi-spheres which I put over the life cast’s eyes. Using these and the life cast’s mouth as my guidepoints I started sculpting. I sculpted the Polar Bear’s head out of clay. In this case I used waterbased clay. Everyone has perferences on clay but I personally like the feel of water-based better. It’s a textural thing.
As I sculpted I kept the drawing of the character open along with several pictures of polar bears. This one, in particular, was my reference. I like the expression on his face. My clients want the bear to be young, curious, and trustworthy.
I deviated from the drawing by making the nose a little shorter and the distance from the nose to the bottom of the chin smaller. Both of these are indicators of youth. On a more practical note, because my mouth/eye distance was locked in, there was a limit to how thick I could make the nose. Which meant that if I extended the nose out from the face as far as in the drawing it would taper to a needle-like point. I didn’t think this really expressed the huggability we are going for. So, shorter and broader.
Here is the finished sculpture. My next step is to cut the chin off and do some detail work on the inside of the lips. I’ll cast the chin and face in fiberglass separately. I’ll also remove the nose itself and replace it with one made of foam covered with leather so that it will feel right if a child touches it. The ears will also be be made of foam and fur so they are soft to the touch. The final head will look larger than this because of the fur, which will add about two inches to the apparent size of the head.
Oh, and if you are curious about the spoon in the lower right corner of the picture, I use it to smooth the clay. By rubbing it in circles across the surface of clay you can burnish the clay and make a smooth surface. It doesn’t actually matter what the surface is like for this one, because the whole head will be covered in fur, but I find it easier to tell if I’ve made the head lopsided if the bumpy bits are distracting me.
I spent the day playing with Rob and stayed up ridiculously late to write. Well, and then I was also seduced by Captain Future and Danger Planet, which should really have an exclamation point in the title.
In the center of the rocky ground, the earth had vomited up a vast structure of stone, misshapen and bent under the weight of itself.
Well. If you usually use my ohp address to contact me, you might have noticed that I’ve been silent for a while. edatarack.com has taken my company website offline without telling me. I don’t know how long it’s been down because I don’t go look at it every day and the email normally forwards into another account. Needless to say, I am frustrated and angry.
Update: I wrote to the billing department and got this response.
Your account no longer pinged to our network and your account expiration date was 9-21-06. The account was removed from our server due to 1-week of consistent network inactivity.
I donâ€™t know what they mean that it no longer pinged to their network. Itâ€™s still got edatarack listed as the nameservers. And it apparently went away weeks before the end date. Whatâ€™s up with that? I wrote to ask.
What do you mean it no longer pinged to your network? I hadn’t moved it. Whois still shows edatarack as the name servers. When was it removed?
edatarack wrote back:
I really could not say.
And yes. That is the entirity of the message. My jaw dropped when I read it. I mean, it’s so blatantly rude and don’t give a shit. If they had any hope of keeping my business, they just lost it.
I’ve written back, but don’t expect a civil answer:
Excuse me? You wrote “Your account no longer pinged to our network and your account expiration date was 9-21-06. The account was removed from our server due to 1-week of consistent network inactivity.”
I would like that to be clarified. I do not understand “pinged.”
When was it removed?
Update: I have moved the website to bluehost and email is working again. It may take twenty-four hours for the website to show up in your neck of the woods.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]