Choosing Between Love and Fear

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this.

“Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

New Year’s Resolutions

I LOVE New Year’s resolutions.

Since losing weight, getting more exercise, and cutting back on getting blackout-sobbing drunk is a part of my everyday life, I use resolutions for more atypical desires.

I had this epiphany about fifteen years ago when I decided to go against tradition and make my New Year’s resolution to eat more pie. Best. Resolution. Ever.

My resolutions since that year haven’t always been so successful, but I look forward to them nonetheless. 2016 was supposed to be the year of rejection, but I only managed to get a single story rejected from F&SF. I didn’t have much luck finding venues that seemed suitable for my stories.

One resolution for 2017 is to get more in tune with the moon. I lead a very insulated and mediated life. In 2016 it struck me as odd that I didn’t really know anything about moonrise or moonset, and never had any sense of whether it was a full moon or new moon on any given day. This year I’m paying attention to my lunar neighbor.

To that end I’ll be posting a new story every full moon.

It’s not really a resolution, but I’ll also be writing a novel in 2017. I’ll be pouring everything I’ve learned about fiction writing over the last couple of years into this project. With any luck, by the end of the year I’ll have something I can start shopping around to an agent.

Here’s to 2017! Which, I can say with some confidence, will be both better and worse than 2016,

Of Blogs Present: Balderdash and the Moon

Hillsborough River Chronicle ended up being a little too generic for my tastes, so with the new year, I’m working with a new title: Balderdash and the Moon.

Fortunately, dear reader, there is only one of you, so I’m trusting the title changes won’t be too disconcerting.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to be more in tune with the moon. And, almost everything in this blog can easily be categorized as sheer balderdash, hence the title.

Making Space

It’s the end of 2016 and for me that means it is time to de-clutter. There’s a lot of work to be done in 2017, so I’m spending the end of 2016 removing all the stuff that’s obsolete.

I’m cleaning my desk, clearing bookshelves, deleting bookmarks, weeding twitter feeds and RSS feeds. I’m paying attention to what I actually use every day vs. what I think I might use someday maybe.

If I don’t use is, or haven’t used it for all of 2016, it’s time for it to go away.

If I use it every day, I’ll consider upgrading. Or, maybe I need more than one (or need it in more than one room).

For information consumption I’m dialing back the amount of politics I consume, and increasing the amount of art I surround myself with. I don’t need more news I need more poetry.

The Prescience of Ursula K. Le Guin

It may be time to revisit Ursula K. Le Guin’s acceptance speech at the National Book Awards for her Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”

“Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”

Indigenous Futurisms

Miriam C. Brown Spiers’s scholarly essay “Reimagining Resistance: Achieving Sovereignty in Indigenous Science Fiction” popped up in my email this morning. As I dug around on the web for more information about indigenous science fiction I came across a really cool new media SF piece titled TimeTraveller™ (You can watch the episodes here.)

In her post about indigenous futurisms Denise Wong gives some background to help put TimeTravellerTM into context.

“The movement towards self-determination in cyberspace by Indigenous communities is best illustrated by the CyberPowWow project (1996) produced by Mohawk artist Skawennati Fragnito and a group of Aboriginal artists and writers. The project eventually led to the creation of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) community, which seeded Skawennati’s TimeTravellerTM, a nine-episode machinima film series created in a virtual environment. The protagonist, Hunter, is a young Mohawk man who uses a fictive TimeTravellerTM edutainment system to travel between the 22nd century and moments of historical conflict dating back as early as A.D. 1490. He encounters the female Mohawk character Karahkwenhawi who also journeys through time using TimeTravellerTM. The two characters not only interact with a breadth of characters in the past, present, and future, but their presence becomes a part of the reality on screen.”

A substantial portion of Spiers’s essay is given over to an analysis of Trail of Tears by Blake M. Hausman.

“A surrealistic revisiting of the Cherokee Removal, Riding the Trail of Tears takes us to north Georgia in the near future, into a virtual-reality tourist compound where customers ride the Trail of Tears, and into the world of Tallulah Wilson, a Cherokee woman who works there. When several tourists lose consciousness inside the ride, employees and customers at the compound come to believe, naturally, that a terrorist attack is imminent.

“Little does Tallulah know that Cherokee Little People have taken up residence in the virtual world and fully intend to change the ride’s programming to suit their own point of view. Told by a narrator who knows all but can hardly be trusted, in a story reflecting generations of experience while recalling the events in a single day of Tallulah’s life, this funny and poignant tale revises American history even as it offers a new way of thinking, both virtual and very real, about the past for both Native Americans and their Anglo counterparts.”

I added that, and Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction by Grace L. Dillon, to my “buy soon” list

Cultivating Designer Meat in Tampa

It’s no secret that Tampa’s culinary star is rising. Tampa’s demographics are also nearly identical to the demographics of the US as a whole. This is one reason restaurant chains often test here before going nation-wide.

This means Tampa is the best place to test the in vitro meat market.

In vitro meat is meat grown in a cell culture rather than cut off an animal.

If this idea pushes your entrepreneurial buttons let me recommend the In Vitro Cookbook and its accompanying site which imagines a Bistro in Vitro.

“Bistro In Vitro is a fictitious restaurant with a menu of in vitro dishes that may one day end up on your plate. We prepare exclusive cuts of meat, cultured and prepared with surprising flavours and textures that you would never encounter in the wild. By exploring and pushing the boundaries of our food culture we want to do away with the idea that cultured meat is an inferior meat substitute. That is why we serve you a digital selection of sustainable, animal friendly, exciting and delicious dishes that will prompt thought and discussion on in vitro meat.”

invitrocookbookcover

From the desert menu:

“Forget autographs and posters on the wall. Show you are a true fan by literally eating your favourite celebrity. These Celebrity Cubes are made from celebrities’ stem cells. Bistro In Vitro serves the stars dipped in a whiskey glaze. A deliciously addictive dish.”

Embrace the future, Tampa!

J. G. Ballard Sees the Future

From his introduction to Diary of a Genius (1974) by Salvador Dalí.

“The uneasy marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an increasingly surreal world. More and more, we see that the events of our own times make sense in terms of surrealism rather than any other view — whether the grim facts of the death-camps, Hiroshima and Viet Nam, or our far more ambiguous unease at organ transplant surgery and the extra-uterine foetus, the confusions of the media landscape with its emphasis on the glossy, lurid and bizarre, its hunger for the irrational and sensational.”

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Francisco Goya
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Francisco Goya

“The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now.” -Interview in Metaphors No. 7, (1983).

“The advanced societies of the future will not be governed by reason. They will be driven by irrationality, by competing systems of psychopathology.” -As quoted in J. G. Ballard Quotes : Does The Future Have A Future? (2004) edited by V. Vale and Mike Ryan.”

Crisitunity

Lisa: Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”?

Homer: Yes! “Cristitunity!”

crisitunity

It’s hard to fight your allies.

I’m largely sympathetic to Obama, but I don’t really support the permanent war, or torture, or extrajudicial execution by drone, or the clampdown on whistleblowing or… well, you get the idea. So, in my desperate effort to process the new reality I’ve decided to think of this as a crisitunity. Yes, it is a crisis. But, it is also an opportunity. An opportunity to fight against permanent war, for starters. As well as an opportunity to fight for global human rights.

Let the crisitunity begin!

*Note: Chinese may not actually use the same word for crisis and opportunity.