Grief, part 2: Stories

Fictional storytelling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first fan fiction in the 5th grade. I crave story, I think about it almost constantly. I surround myself with other writers and creatives to whom stories are more than a passing interest or hobby. But lately, personal narrative is of increasing importance to me, too. Collectively, I think we need stories for these tough times, and we need them to help us imagine a better future. Personally, I need them for recovery from grief.

I’ve carried this scrawled message to myself for the past seven years.

I wasn’t surprised to find evidence from the fields of mental health, educational psychology and even cardiac treatment that all suggest telling stories AND being heard is integral to healing. Mental health treatment points to a specific reason. Once experienced, trauma lives on in not just the mind but also the body, and the resulting anxiety, dissociation, and other stress reactions have lasting consequences for well-being. The brain struggles to make sense of events or block them out, but the trauma doesn’t really leave us until we’re able to reconstruct and reframe dissonance to reach understanding. We can reclaim our sense of self and safety through speaking. This is especially true when the dominant narrative is in conflict with our lived experience, as this study seems to indicate (at least, to me, without the authors actually positing). Listening to and telling stories that resonate with our own lives is healing.

So, I’d like to tell a story about grief. I’m going to do so without thinking too hard about word craft, as though I’m speaking to you over a cup of tea.

This is my maternal grandmother, Inez. When she died, I was twenty. She wasn’t a conventionally beautiful woman. She was overweight and uncouth and messy. She laughed loudly and often.

Inez with my mother and uncle, 1968. I was born just five years later.

All  memory is flawed but this is what I remember. She died when I was two months into my junior year in college. I’d just transferred from a community college to a university and settled into a dorm room full of misfits two hours away from home. The distance seemed a world away, my first experience on my own and without a car. I was the first person in my immediate family to go away to college like this, so I had no generational wisdom to draw from.

I learned the news of my grandmother’s death when Jeff, my then-boyfriend-from-back-home, showed up unexpectedly at my door. Jeff took hold of my shoulders with both hands, and looking me in the eye, gently said, “Your grandma died.”

Here, dear reader, is when something somewhat unusual occurred. This occurrence made the normal process of grief quite difficult.

My breath caught, and I asked him as calmly as I could which grandmother he was referring to. I had the good fortune to have three living grandmothers, my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandmother, and my paternal great-grandmother. Grandma Inez was the cheerfully stubborn Southern matriarch who gathered the extended families of her two sisters together on holidays and cooked huge pots of comfort food. She was warm, silly and affectionate. She was relatively young, as my mother had been a teen mom. She was the one who squeezed me in her sweaty arms and told me she was proud of me. My other grandmothers were more reserved and less affectionate, more silently judgmental, or so it seemed. To further complicate matters, there was also a fourth woman I called Grandma, a step-grandmother, if you will, who had married into our family.

Incredibly, Jeff didn’t know which grandmother had died. My parents had asked him to convey the news to me, hoping his presence would soften the blow. He was also there to drive me back for the funeral. Sweet and helpful, but short on information. I can’t quite describe the feeling of grappling with this incomplete message. I couldn’t even cry, not knowing for whom I grieved.

I felt almost as though I could keep the fact of death from being true by holding this incompleteness in my mind. Like the unthinkable hadn’t really happened. I might be attending the funeral of one grandmother in a few days, or it could be totally different person’s, with another kind of sorrow to feel. Who knew? In this time just before the popularization of cell phones, my parents could not be reached. I felt bewildered, with the grief that should have been flowing through me arrested in my chest, like a physical sensation of choking.

In the blur of days that followed, I can’t remember when or how I learned the rest of the story. Of course, it was Grandma Inez. She’d suffered sudden heart failure while watching television in my parents’ living room. She fell from the recliner she’d been sitting in, and as she fell, pulled the chair sharply across the hardwood floor, leaving a gouge in the polished wood that continues to serve as reminder of those moments when my father frantically performed CPR.

At the funeral and family gatherings, I found myself in the role of the Good Daughter, the College Girl, which was completely foreign to me. I was also something of an oddity as the family weirdo who wanted to be a writer. I dressed for the funeral in an old skirt-suit of my mother’s, probably handed down to her by her cousin who works in real estate. No one else in our lower-income family owned much in the way of funeral-appropriate clothing. My own cousin David, a lanky young man only a few years older than myself, came late to the funeral directly from his manual-labor job, wearing a dirtied uniform. I remember being angry on his behalf when more distant relatives whispered remarks about his lack of respect, and I hugged him fiercely.

I positioned myself as the buffer between my introverted mother and the rest of the mourners. I could see the tremendous toll the rituals of death were taking on her; she was responsible for holding the space for the family. So, instead of grieving, I worked to protect her. I tried to hold the space for her. My own grief was still tightly coiled inside, unreleased. I have a murky, half-submerged memory of the graveside service, and of clinging to the casket handles, refusing to let go, until my father took my hands and led me away.

When I returned to school, the numbness of those few days at home seemed to harden, compress and solidify. I felt cold and hard. My boyfriend Jeff ended our two-and-a-half year relationship for someone he’d met in our hometown. I then suffered a health crisis and then fell into a deep depression. I earned a D in a course I loved, a class on creative nonfiction. I couldn’t write, much less write about my own life. I was numb.

Later, I returned home to help my mother clear the belongings from my grandmother’s home. The process of packing and sorting the dishes and linens, which I think my mother found hard but healing, seemed surreal, as though my grandmother would return any moment, and the silence was too bright and loud. Time crept, its passage taking on a thicker quality. An image I’ll never forget: I opened a drawer in the sewing room only to encounter the slow sleepy eyes of a baby possum, whose slumber I’d disturbed in the long-empty house. Nature has a way of reclaiming and moving on, even when we cannot.

The circumstances of not-knowing and serving as protector meant the grieving of my grandmother’s death was deferred for me, but the cognitive need remained. Windows into grief flickered open unexpectedly. I’d be reminded of her by a word or phrase, by something as simple as the sight of a breakfast cereal in a grocery store (she’d treated me and my sister with sweet cereals my mother could not afford to buy), and I’d feel a sudden sharp, bewildering sensation of her absence. I wondered if there was something wrong with me, if I couldn’t properly accept the loss, coupled loosely as it was with the betrayal and abandonment I felt when my relationship with Jeff crumbled.

A few years later, something changed. I attended my first yoga class, and at the end of the session, I found myself drifting into a dreamlike state when the instructor took the group into Savasana, the Corpse Pose. In this resting state, I saw behind my closed eyes my grandmother’s face turning toward mine. I was badly shaken, and I certainly didn’t want to return to yoga the following week. But I did, and the same thing happened. I couldn’t avoid her face by keeping my eyes open, even though I tried. I told the kindly instructor, Jen, what had happened. She advised me to see the unwanted “visitation” as a gift. For weeks afterward, I opened myself to that interpretation, and to my surprise, I wept each time we entered Savasana. Not sobbing, just quiet streaming of tears and a silent vision of my grandmother’s face. The relief this gradually brought on is difficult to describe. I was able to both release the knot in my chest and obtain a sense of conclusion. Her face seemed to say that it was alright to let go of her. After this release, I found I could write again.

I’m grateful for the healthy capacity of the mind to heal itself. Recounting this story here reminds me of my own potential for resilience. Relationships end. The world seems terribly unjust and even absurd. Denial of closure or justice welds pain in place, makes healing even harder. But I’m still here, and I have stories to tell, some painful truths and perfect moments of joy. Each of us have such stories, and many others besides. I could make a plug here for self-care, but I’m not saying yoga changed my life. I saying that telling our stories is truly essential to healing.

I’m also grateful to have recently discovered podcasts like The Moth Radio Hour where people share their lives. I highly recommend it. If you have a story about grief you’d like to share, I invite you to do so in the comments.

Stories are all we have

This week, I met with a group of new students to talk about what is meant by “success.” They expected I would lecture them about things like time management, and they were surprised when I chose to instead talk about story.

I asked these students, who are studying to be nurses, engineers, computer programmers (and many other professions) to consider what they’d most like their story to be, ten years from now. I asked them to think about their narrative so far, and further, I encouraged them consider, especially in this strange and difficult time that lies ahead for all of us, that every other person in the world also has a story.

I read to them from Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby:

Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and prisons out of them… To love someone is to put ourselves in their place, we say, which is to put yourself in their story, or figure out how to tell yourself their story… Sometimes the story collapses, and it demands that we recognize we’ve been lost, or terrible, or ridiculous, or just stuck; sometimes change arrives like an ambulance or a supply drop.

It seems to me that change has arrived not like an ambulance but like a tumor erupting to the surface of public consciousness. It’s vitally important just now to remember that we each have a story, and we can refuse to allow any one person’s story to be invalidated. Racism, for example, is a complex and hateful set of complicated, intertwined stories the powerful tell about Others to the rest of the world. Sexism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia are stories, often composed of outright lies, fabrications sewn together from a patchwork of misunderstanding, fear and willful ignorance.

It seems paramount that we tell our stories and support #ownvoices storytelling. Today, to me, it feels like survival, what resistance looks like. It seems imperative that we make art to share stories of what the future can be.

This is not a new idea. Marginalized voices have been saying this, for a very, very long while. When stories are suppressed and rendered invisible, replaced with lies, people with bodies in the real world are cut off from opportunities, suffer, bleed and even die.

Let’s fight back by telling our stories, reading stories, sharing stories. Because I really think that in the end, they’re all we have.

Life Moves Fast, Hold on Tight

I realized recently that blogging used to be a bigger part of my day-to-day life, and I wondered, “what happened?” Since posts were more of a journal than an “internet presence,” gaps between posts were pretty normal. But for the past few years, I’ve been spotty about posting at all.

Two reasons emerged: one, I upended my life at the end of 2010 and what I was going through was too personal and painful to articulate in a public medium. Two, I found community on Twitter, and that filled the need that blogging seemed to previously provide.

But I’d like to stretch my contemplative and political muscles a bit more and return to blogging as a practice of thinking and writing. So, this post is a message to my future self:

Hey, woman! Didn’t you say you were going to blog more?

The Social Media Fast

This past week, I chose to spend 7 days off Twitter as part of a “reading deprivation” exercise.

Sounds a little silly and self-indulgent, does it not? Would avoiding social media and reading be difficult? CUE TINY VIOLINS OF PRIVILEGE

The reason: I’ve been parsing through Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is ostensibly a 12-week course in spiritual creativity. I’ve essentially spent an average of three weeks per week in the course. Whatever my initial skepticism, Cameron’s approach has been incredibly helpful to my personal development (without really intending to, I have made 2014 my Year of Healing, between CBT and hard life changes, following fast upon 2013’s Year of Living Dangerously, quelle surprise). During week 4, Cameron suggests reading and media consumption fill one’s head with distracting noise serving as “tranquilizer” to the creative impulse and a “shield” against the outside world. “For most blocked creatives,” Cameron says, “reading is an addiction.” Cameron pushes her students to avoid the words of others for just one week.

I felt resistant to this idea, as you can imagine. I thrive on words for inspiration. Ideas of others inspire me, their triumphs and sorrows and artful expressions fill my creative well. But I tried anyway, and mostly stuck to it. Although I’m an avid reader, avoiding books was easier; the fact that Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance waits by my bedside is comforting. The rolling timeline of Twitter is a different story.

(TL;DR) What I learned from the Social Media Fast of 2014:

1. I sat in silence more. As a neo-Quaker, this part was disconcerting but appealing. I noticed how frequently I turned to my phone to fill space. This didn’t translate into more productivity or heaps of found time. I just noticed and sat with a sensation of emptiness, eating in silence or when waiting for appointments. I did more people-watching and felt more self-aware.

2. I dearly missed connection with people. I’m fortunate to be acquainted with creative folks all over the world, and since I’m not on Facebook, Twitter is the main way I keep up with what is important to those folks. Plus, they make me laugh. Missing their voices for an entire week felt lonely. I filled that need by writing letters to a few of my favorite people, and now I have a new creative way to connect and a list of people I plan to write to next.

3. I fell out of the loop on world events. I get most of my news from Twitter. I know this may sound ridiculous to some, but it’s completely true.

4. I realized how much I value Twitter as a tool of self-expression and creativity. I share, I give and receive support, I contextualize my life experiences. Even though I refrain from broadcasting the most private details, my online presence is, weirdly, a part of me. Tweets have replaced my more frequent blogging of the past as the journal of my life story.

I can’t say I recommend this strategy, but I’m glad I tried it.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to let me know your thoughts, here or on Twitter.


Outlaw Bodies is Here!

cover art by Robin E. Kaplan

A little belated in my announcement, but here it is! Now available from Amazon, Wizard Tower Books (UK, as an ebook) and Lulu.

Some reviews have come in, some quite positive, including Strange Horizons and The New York Journal of Books.

Thank you so much to editors Lori Selke and Djibril al-Ayad for the faith and effort they invested in bringing this collection to life.

#FeministSF Chat with Vonda McIntyre 7/08/2012

The following is a transcript of yesterday’s FeministSF Twitter chat, in which I interview award-winning author Vonda McIntyre. The order of the chat is reversed, in true Twitter feed order; go to the end and scroll up to read in the order in which it occurred (really, this is because I am lazy/tired). All timestamps are accurate for PST. Enjoy!

#FeministSF chat takes place most Sundays at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST. Next week, join the discussion with Catherine Lundoff on aging and feminist science fiction.

thefuturefire Jul 08, 12:17pm via web

@traciewelser @vondanmcintyre Yes, thank you. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. #FeministSF

traciewelser Jul 08, 12:15pm via TweetDeckthanks to everyone who participated in #feministSF today. I’ll post a transcript link soon.
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:14pm via TweetChat@Justdar826 Tracie suggested TweetChat to me and it makes life a lot easier. #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 12:14pm via web@vondanmcintyre @traciewelser why don’t we schedule a chat on this very subject in a few weeks? Who’s new in #FeministSF?
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 12:13pm via TweetChat@vondanmcintyre Not willing to oil up the keyboard!!! Have to wait to when I’m between pieces to type. #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:13pm via TweetChat@traciewelser Good point. Why don’t you suggest some new writers so I can catch up? #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 12:13pm via web@traciewelser @parisianfeline Absolutely. I think #FeministSF has added about a hundred books to my TBR over the last year. Literally.
Justdar826 Jul 08, 12:12pm via Twitter for iPhone@vondanmcintyre @nicolaz #feministSF Hard to follow both of your twitter feed is wonky too whinewhine 😉 Happy Sunday to both of you!
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 12:12pm via TweetChat@thefuturefire aging in #FeministSF with @clundoff should be good. Menopausal werewolves–Yes! #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:12pm via TweetChat@Wyld_Dandelyon It’s the cheese on the keys that makes for difficulties. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:11pm via TweetDeck@parisianfeline but what a way to collect ideas for future reading, right? #feministSF
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 12:11pm via TweetChat@vondanmcintyre Thanks for being here. I’ve been a fan since Dreamsnake came out, but pizza slowed my typing down a _lot_! #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:10pm via TweetChat@nicolaz I hear you. Anyway it’s possible to read & participate in both, but not if you’re the guest on one of them. #feministSF
parisianfeline Jul 08, 12:10pm via web@thefuturefire That’s how I feel in every #FeministSF chat. I haven’t read much sci fi so I’m not as experienced or knowledgeable.
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:10pm via TweetDeck@nicolaz it’s all good! It’s fun to see the overlap between the two chats. #feministSF #writeathon
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:09pm via TweetChatMy pleasure. Thanks for inviting me. #feministSF
nicolaz Jul 08, 12:09pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre My fault 🙁 I opined that it’s the best time for international chats and, well, that’s what happened. mea culpa #feministsf
thefuturefire Jul 08, 12:09pm via webBeen following #FeministSF avidly, but not had much to contribute. (Took opportunity to order several @vondanmcintyre books online though!)
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:09pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre on a personal note, I’m a fan of your mathcrafts and had the good fortune to receive one from you at CW 2010. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:08pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre thanks, everyone! if there are no more questions… #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:06pm via TweetChatThere are a couple of book ideas on the back burner but I usually work on one at a time. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:06pm via TweetChat.@nicolaz Going to go back and read #writeathon — too bad it & FeministSF are scheduled against each other. #feministSF
patriciasbowne Jul 08, 12:05pm via TweetDeckI have to go now, to a memorial for Sue Blom. (you may remember her from cons – she rode a scooter.) Thanks for a great #feministsf chat!
nicolaz Jul 08, 12:04pm via TweetDeck@traciewelser Pleasure. Sorry I missed most of it. Oh, well. #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:04pm via TweetChatSure, glad to hang around for a while. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:03pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre wow, it’s been an hour already! you okay with a few more questions? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:02pm via TweetChatOh, gosh, that changes even as the tides. Also it’s tough to read other people’s SF while I’m writing my own. I’m always behind. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:01pm via TweetDeck@nicolaz hi, Nicola! thanks for dropping in! #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 12:01pm via TweetChat@nicolaz I don’t think Curve of the World is as long as Hild! #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 12:00pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre who are some of your favorite up-and-coming writers/works? #feministSF
nicolaz Jul 08, 12:00pm via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre I’m looking forward to THE CURVE OF THE WORLD. Have been for *ages*! But I feel your pain re: length… #feministsf
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:59am via TweetDeck@Wyld_Dandelyon oh, me, too! that’s ideal. sometimes I’m not thinking about “message” at all, but the responsibility is there. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:59am via TweetChatAlternate history. Minoans. Can’t say too much, depletes the energy to write it. #feministSF
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 11:58am via TweetChat@traciewelser I like it best when I have both (crafting and flow)! #feministsf
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:58am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre can you say anything about it yet? ::spoilers:: #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:57am via TweetChatAnd is maybe halfway through the story. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:57am via TweetChatWorking on the novel that will not end, The Curve of the World. It’s already longer than anything I’ve published before. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:57am via TweetDeck@Wyld_Dandelyon I see what you’re saying, crafting versus flow. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:56am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre what projects are you working on currently? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:55am via TweetChatI’m looking at possibilities. Descriptive rather than prescriptive. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:54am via TweetChatTracie — It’s been a long time since I wrote “Screwtop.” It started with the title. (Unusual for me.) Beyond that? Who knows? #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:54am via TweetDeck@Wyld_Dandelyon what I mean is, what social change are you working for, if any, by making certain choices in your writing? #feministSF
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 11:54am via TweetChat@traciewelser Or to put it another way, how much is “perspiration” versus how much is “inspiration”? #feministsf
Wyld_Dandelyon Jul 08, 11:53am via TweetChat@traciewelser Do you mean how much is “didactic” really? Or just how much is diligence, practice, and skill … #feministsf
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:53am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre what thought was behind that setting, for you? #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:52am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre how deliberate is that choice? let’s say, “Screwtop,” for instance. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:52am via TweetChatAn awful lot of SF is firmly grounded in American suburbia ca. 1955. Been there, done that, bored now (and then). #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:51am via TweetChatI try not to be didactic. Don’t much like to be lectured in SF. But the background you choose makes a difference. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:51am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre as feminist writers, working to portray women naturally, to create thoughtful moments, people, places. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:50am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre one thing I’m always curious about and struggle with in my own work, is how much is didactic vs. inspired? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:49am via TweetChatSure. Most SF is inspired on one level or another by “What if?” (or “If this goes on…”) — speculation. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:48am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre was much of your noveling inspored by that kind of “what if,” scientifically? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:46am via TweetChatYou often run into scientists who have been influenced by SF. I don’t know of anybody working on biocontrol, though. #feministSF
requireshate Jul 08, 11:45am via MetroTwit@traciewelser yeah, Whedon gets waaaay more credit than he truly merits, IMO #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:45am via TweetChatLots of genetic engineering, evolution, speculation. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:45am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre (I also dig the idea that sci-fi influences scientific development. I’m ready for bio-control! #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:44am via TweetChatTracie — Buffy has strengths & weaknesses. A character without any weaknesses isn’t very interesting. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:44am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre I know your background is in science. How does that influence your work? #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:43am via TweetDeck@requireshate I’m with you, in that while I like the strength of Buffy’s character, it needs to be problematized. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:41am via TweetChatOh, I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought it was the best-written show on television. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:40am via TweetChatTracie, sure. The outlooks aren’t mutually exclusive or even competitive. #feministSF
requireshate Jul 08, 11:39am via MetroTwit@traciewelser @patriciasbowne find it questionable Buffy’s continually held up as “strong woman” #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:39am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre there’s a variety of ways to inspire change, right? women overcome obstacles, or worlds were talents are normal. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:39am via TweetChat“Set *in* 1693.” Jeez louise, Vonda, proofread. #feministSF
patriciasbowne Jul 08, 11:39am via TweetDeckNow I’m wondering if you meant to create that tension in the reader, or if it’s just side effect of the character you wrote. #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:39am via TweetChatMusic, mathematics. When a guy in SF has those abilities, nobody blinks. #feministSF
patriciasbowne Jul 08, 11:38am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre That’s probably it. I remember feeling a lot of tension b/c there was no cathartic ‘striking back’. #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:38am via TweetChatAnd Moon & Sun is set it 1693. Even so some critics find MJ unbelievable because she has abilities that often come as a set. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:37am via TweetChatNo one ever says to Snake, You can’t do that because you’re a girl. The only exception to that in my work is Moon & Sun. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:37am via TweetDeck@patriciasbowne I think of Xena, Buffy, lots of depictions of strong women. They fight as warriors but Snake is different. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:36am via TweetChatPatricia, Snake isn’t a warrior. (“I don’t even know how to fight with a knife.”) She expects hospitality, not attack. #feministSF
Dave_Fouchey Jul 08, 11:34am via TweetChatRT @vondanmcintyre: “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” (first chapter of Dreamsnake) came out in Analog, not a bastion of feminism. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:34am via TweetDeck@patriciasbowne @vondanmcintyre you touched on this topic in a previous #feministSF chat. How does challenge inform adventure w/out abuse?
patriciasbowne Jul 08, 11:34am via TweetDeckStill, the challenges she faced felt very different from other books of the time. Not sure why. #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:34am via TweetChatPeople keep asking me how they can learn biocontrol. I say I wrote it because I hoped someone would invent it so we can learn it #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:33am via TweetChat.@patriciasbowne Dreamsnake is adventure (sf not fantasy) and challenging your main character = adventure. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:32am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre that’s right! (for those tuning in, the novel is a multi-award winner). #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:32am via TweetChatMain character is a woman; biocontrol of fertility; men in supporting-character roles, interpreted as “weak” men, which is wrong #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:30am via TweetChat“Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” (first chapter of Dreamsnake) came out in Analog, not a bastion of feminism. #feministSF
patriciasbowne Jul 08, 11:30am via TweetDeckSnake suffered one bad thing after another to an extent I found different from other fantasy of the time. Was that intentional? #feministsf
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:30am via TweetChatOh, there was a big fight about whether there was room for women in SF, but not everyone agreed so you could sell stories. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:29am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre to your earlier remark, what elements make DREAMSNAKE feminist? #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:29am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre I guess I’m assuming something about the general climate of the time. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:28am via TweetChatBut whether it was because of the woman’s POV? I don’t know. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:27am via TweetChatBy the time they came back and asked to see the books again, my agent had sold them elsewhere. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:27am via TweetChatBoth Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun were rejected by the first editors who saw them. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:26am via TweetDeckRT @nicolaz: Wow, great chats going on simultaneously: @vondanmcintyre doing #feministsf, and @stephanieburgis for @ClarionWest‘s #writeathon.
requireshate Jul 08, 11:26am via MetroTwit(even some of the SW tie-in written by women is pretty repellent regarding gender politics; see Christie Golden) #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:26am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre was female POV a harder sell to publishers? #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:25am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre you work at that time has a few counterparts, but even LeGuin was writing mainly male characters. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:25am via TweetChatPeople tend to either really like my stuff or hate it — “Little Faces,” for instance. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:24am via TweetChatI had a different-than-usual focus for both my original fiction and the tie-in work. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:23am via TweetChatWhen Dreamsnake came out, main characters in SF were usually guys. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:21am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre can you talk about what that means for you? #feministSF
requireshate Jul 08, 11:21am via MetroTwit@vondanmcintyre heh, feminism in SW must be kind of tricky, considering. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:21am via TweetChatI think STARFARERS is a good bit more feminist, as is DREAMSNAKE. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:20am via TweetChatYes, I tried to do that too. You’re a bit limited in what you can do because you have the main crew. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:19am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre …and Stars Wars not so much, but the novels are a place to complicate that. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:19am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre I’ve always thought that Star Trek writers have made efforts to increase complex female presence. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:19am via TweetChatA good bit of the (The Crystal Star) is from the POV of the kids and Leia. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:18am via TweetChatI mean, obviously anything I write is from a feminist perspective. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:18am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre interesting! how did you go about that? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:17am via TweetChatA bit. That’s what they asked me to do for the Star Wars book — increase the diversity somewhat. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:16am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre do you think you brought a feminist perspective to those universes? #feministSF
alanpdx Jul 08, 11:15am via TweetChatRT @vondanmcintyre: “LADeDeDa” is flash fiction by me and Ursula K. Le Guin. It was available at #feministSF
nicolaz Jul 08, 11:15am via TweetDeckWow, great chats going on simultaneously: @vondanmcintyre doing #feministsf, and @stephanieburgis for @ClarionWest‘s #writeathon.
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:15am via TweetChatThey’re different. I enjoyed playing in Gene Roddenberry’s universe, and George Lucas’s. The deadlines weren’t much fun, though. #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 11:13am via TweetChatRT @vondanmcintyre: “LADeDeDa” is flash fiction by me and Ursula K. Le Guin. It was available at #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:13am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre in your own work, you’ve done media tie-ins as well as series. do you refer one type of work over another? #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:13am via TweetChatI don’t have any plans for collaboration with anybody at the moment, but you never know. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:13am via TweetChatBut I haven’t had a chance to put it back up at the new BVC website. This may inspire me. The Nature version lost the ad. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:12am via TweetChat“LADeDeDa” is flash fiction by me and Ursula K. Le Guin. It was available at #feministSF
Justdar826 Jul 08, 11:11am via Twitter for iPhone@vondanmcintyre #feministSF did it inspire you to do more collaborations? Any dream teaming?
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:10am via TweetChatWhat we mostly collaborate on is her website ( #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 11:10am via web@traciewelser @vondanmcintyre Wait! I have no idea what LADeDeDa is! Can some one fill in the gaps? #FeministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:09am via TweetChatI haven’t done much collaboration — Ursula has done a lot, though usually in different media than fiction. She’s great. #feministSF
esedia Jul 08, 11:08am via TweetChatRT @vondanmcintyre: RT @thefuturefire: About 45 minutes til todays #FeministSF chat: interview with special guest @vondanmcintyre #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:08am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre 🙂 how was this work different (in terms of collaboration?) #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:07am via TweetChatIt took a bit of tap dancing to get the title to come out right. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:07am via TweetChatOh, that was fun. She started it, and I thought, “With a little tweaking, this would be a Futures story.” And so it was. #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 11:07am via web@Justdar826 Hi, Darlene! (Don’t forget to use the hashtag) #FeministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:06am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre I’m referrring to “LADeDeDa, which ” first appeared in Nature. #feministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:05am via TweetChatDo you mean her website, or Book View Cafe, or — ? #feministSF
fabiofernandes Jul 08, 11:05am via webThis afternoon: #amwriting, finishing a blog post, and trying to be in two chats at the same time: #FeministSF and #writeathon. 🙂
Milerama Jul 08, 11:05am via TweetDeckRT @traciewelser: @vondanmcintyre @thefuturefire so today, we’re talking with award-winning author Vonda McIntyre. #FeministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:04am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre the first question relates to your recent work with Ursula K LeGuin. Can you tell us a bit about that? #FeministSF
fabiofernandes Jul 08, 11:04am via TweetDeckRT @traciewelser: @vondanmcintyre @thefuturefire so today, we’re talking with award-winning author Vonda McIntyre. #FeministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:02am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre @thefuturefire so today, we’re talking with award-winning author Vonda McIntyre. #FeministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 11:02am via TweetChatGood morning (or evening or afternoon depending on where anybody is) to you too. #feministSF
traciewelser Jul 08, 11:01am via TweetDeck@vondanmcintyre since I’m just moderating today, I’ll start with a few questions. feel free to jump in, other folks! #FeministSF
vondanmcintyre Jul 08, 10:26am via TweetChatRT @thefuturefire: About 45 minutes til todays #FeministSF chat: interview with special guest @vondanmcintyre #feministSF
thefuturefire Jul 08, 10:14am via webAbout 45 minutes til today’s #FeministSF chat: interview with special guest @vondanmcintyre
BleedingChrome Jul 08, 8:56am via TweetDeckRT @traciewelser: Join us at 11:00 PST/18:00 GMT for #FeministSF chat with special guest @vondanmcintyre!
traciewelser Jul 08, 8:46am via TweetDeckJoin us at 11:00 PST/18:00 GMT for #FeministSF chat with special guest @vondanmcintyre!

Writing About Writing, Out in the World

I’ve been spreading posty goodness on other blogs lately. Here’s a list of some of the places that invited me to visit and throw down some words about making words.

I’d almost forgotten that I used to be a decent essayist. Thanks to Djibril Alayad at The Future Fire, Christie Yant on behalf of the Inkpunks and Galen Dara over at Booklife Now for including my voice.

#FeministSF Chat with Nicola Griffith 4/29/2012

What follows is a transcript from a recent Twitter chat, in which I interview award-winning author Nicola Griffith, and some fairly lucid points about gender, publishing and utopia (whee!) are made. The nature of captures from Twitter is tricky; sometimes tweets appear out of sequence or disappear. Also, the timestamps are wrong, but I’m not energetic enough to edit them all. I appreciate your patience.

#FeministSF chat takes place most Sundays at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST.


@traciewelser: Pre-reading for today’s #feministSF chat at 14:00 EST with @nicolaz:

@traciewelser: 20 minutes until #feministSF chat with @nicolaz,bring questions!

@Rudibrarian: oh no! I can’t go to the grocery store now, @nicolaz is being interviewed on #FeministSFin 15 minutes

@nicolaz: @Rudibrarian Yeah, but I’ll be chatting for a whole hour…n #feministsf

@thefuturefire: If I may sneak this in before we start, there’re some great #FeministSF titles among those up for grabs at

@nicolaz: RT @thefuturefire: before we start, therere some great #FeministSF titles among those up for grabs at #feministsf

@traciewelser: Good day, folks! Who’s tuning in to #feministSFchat today?

@traciewelser: @nicolaz well, that’s good! 🙂 welcome #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz thanks you for participating today 🙂 #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: I’ll be there! #FeministSF

@nicolaz: Thank you. Happy to be here. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian good day to you! #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz that’s the point, right? :)n #FeministSF

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian @nicolaz so, this chat generally runs about an hour, but folks are free to keep chatting after we wind down. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I’ll begin with a question, but others folks are free to chime in. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I’d like to start by just asking a general question… #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz in other interviews, you’ve said you want to show women “w/ an entire spectrum of human behavior.” care to elaborate? #feministsf

@nicolaz: …we’re evil and good, generous and mean, strong and weak, communists and socialists… #feministsf

@nicolaz: Women are human. Everything a human can do (excepting certain obvious biological functions) a woman can do. And has done. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz you said that Slow River in particular was a hard sell b/c publishers/critics felt men were “absent.” #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz such a self-evident statement, but the painful truth is that it still needs to be said…n #FeministSF

@traciewelser: @nicolaz and this absence was somehow unfathomable or detrimental #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Yep 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser It was wild. Reviewers complained of ‘all women’, completely ignoring the men in the novel… #feministsf

@Justdar826: @traciewelser @nicolaz and yet an author would never be told a book was a hard sell because women were absent #feministsf

@rachelswirsky: @nicolaz Do you feel pressure to change your work so that it’s more acceptable to male publishers/editors? #feministsf

@nicolaz: …It was a reflection of that truism, that when a population (even characs) is >30% women, most perceive a majority of women. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky No. It’s always been easy to sell my books. The hard part is writing them 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Justdar826 I think we might be approaching that place. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I know Whileaway and Wanderground were big early influences on your work: how did Ammonite depart from that, for you? #feministsf

@rachelswirsky: @nicolaz I actually love the energy of your short fiction. That’s not a question just a comment. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky Even AMMONITE had multiple offers. The women-only thing didn’t phase any publishers… #feministsf

@nicolaz: …reviewers on the other hand: oof! #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz way back, I felt FemSFF disc list launched/supported FemSFF writers. Have you noticed any change since it’s demise? #feministsf

@rachelswirsky: @nicolaz I think Gwyneth Jones wrote recently about feeling marginalized as a feminist SF writer; you don’t feel the same? #feministsf

@ls_johnson: looks i can sneak a peek at the #feministsfchat . . .

@traciewelser: come on in! RT @ls_johnson: looks i can sneak a peek at the #feministsfchat . . .

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser The biggest difference bet. me & Russ, I think, is that I didn’t believe the arrival of men would fuck it all up. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz ahhh /nodding #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky By other writers, early on? Oh, yep. By publishers and readers? No. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz more of a device, in the time those were written, wouldn’t you agree? one that Left Hand of Darkness doesn’t rely on. #feministsf

@nicolaz: But it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when my latest novel, HILD, is published next year. #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz (so excited to read HILD!! #feministsf)

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz @rachelswirsky I’d have thought Ammonite was less controversial in that regard because it’s explicitly #WorldWithoutMen #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky Yeah. But I think the US is pretty different to the UK. #feministsf

@Wyld_Dandelyon: @nicolaz So, tell us why Hild will be interesting?n #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I’m interested b/c of the public way you’ve conducted your process for Hild. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Yes, but LHD was a more intellectual exploration. Russ’s work was visceral and personal (and so very, very smart) #feministsf

@ls_johnson: @nicolaz @rachelswirsky have those writers become more accepting, then? or is it just that the genre become more inclusive? #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz Hild feels like a breathing person already, just from your tweets about her! #feministsf

@rachelswirsky: @nicolaz Interesting–I hear complaints about there being very few female british SF writers getting high profile attn? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire But reviewers’ brains nearly exploded at a whole novel that’s full of adventure and joy but no boys 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: …they felt left out. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz oh, Russ is more visceral, certainly. Gearhardt perhaps more so. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@ls_johnson Yes. The f/sf writing world has grown considerably in the nearly 20 yrs since AMMONITE was published. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz pardon me, make that Gearhart. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky That’s true. Just take a look at Gollancz’s SF Masterworks list… #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser I loved Gearhart 30 yrs ago. Now I think it’s essentialist nonsense. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz Heh. (Might have been easier to deal with “oh noes, what they going to do without men!” than complaints re Slow River…) #FeministSF

@rachelswirsky: @nicolaz Do you see yourself as getting exceptional treatment? Or is it an issue of who’s writing? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Wyld_Dandelyon Hild changed the world. You could argue (but not in 140 characs) that she is pivotal to democracy as we know it #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I’ve had a similar, evolving sort of reaction to Gearhart… #feministSF

@Justdar826: @nicolaz #feministsf. Well it’s certainly true for much of my book buying habits

@traciewelser: @nicolaz …but her images of magical technologies like flying women and houses made of books stay with me. #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@rachelswirsky Exceptional treatment? No, I don’t think so. I just was always moving ahead, not dwelling on injustices. #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @traciewelser absolutely! those are the pieces that have stayed, w/me too after the politics stopped feeling as powerful to me #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser You know, I don’t remember *that* stuff at all 🙂 #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @traciewelser actually, I think Gearhart was one of my first exposures to radical consensus democracy. That’s stuck w/me too #feministsf

@Justdar826: @nicolaz #feministsfhurray for more HILD

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz Do you set out to make your books a “safe space” for lesbian characters and/or readers? #FeministSF

@Wyld_Dandelyon: It always fascinates me that different people reading the same book or watching the same show remember totally different things. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Wyld_Dandelyon Hild begins as a 3 yr-old, her father murdered in exile, homeless, in a time of warlords and kings… #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz which part of next year will we see HILD? beginning, maybe? #feministsf

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian I think that’s the utopian core of Wanderground, whereas people focus on the depiction of men/separatism. #feministsf

@nicolaz: …when might is right. Yet she dies at 66 as counsellor to kings, teacher of bishops, leader of the folk… #feministsf

@nicolaz: …How did she manage that? That’s what the book’s about. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Hild is tentatively scheduled for autumn 2013. #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: Sounds great! I am always looking for #feministsfthat depicts female success.

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Yes. The joy of that stuff was huge for me. But then the horrible dawning of understanding of… #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@patriciasbowne Hild’s life is a rollercoaster ride–love, hate, war, deprivation, joy, lust, gold… But it ends well 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: The biggest challenge of writing HILD was to not contravene what was known to be known about gender roles… #feministsf

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian I think you’d enjoy The Dispossessed and The Fifth Sacred Thing, then. 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: …and yet make it exciting, Big World Big Life story. #feministsf

@nicolaz: The worldbuilding for HILD was very like sf. #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz most interesting lives are rollercoasters. The trick of making it end well is what interests me most! #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz SF, with maps! #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @traciewelser yes, I did enjoy those! I actually taught a seminar on religion in Fem utopian fiction in mid 90s, those & others #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz do you see Hild as a “genre switch” for you, from SF/crime/historical? #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz Will HILD’s life be in just one book? Or is this a series? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@patriciasbowne The trick, for me, is to make each part end well! #feministsf

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian oooh, we need to talk 🙂 #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Lots and lots of luverly maps! #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz do you mean each part of the book? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser No. I use genre like a vehicle: the right vehicle for the right story terrain. I’ve always thought of myself… #feministsf

@nicolaz: …as a ‘novelist’. Genre is just a tool. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian The book that will be out next year ends with her marriage at age 19. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz a tool that has limitations and practical value in publishing, no? #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz sounds like we’ll get many books out of the life of HILD! fantastic! #feministsf

@nicolaz: Don’t get me wrong, I *love* genre–sf, crime, historical, etc.–but I’m not citizen of any of them. #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz That’s a really liberating concept. Yet to do it requires being good in lots of genres! #feministsf

@Justdar826: @Rudibrarian @traciewelser @nicolaz #feministsfI think Wanderground was my 1st exposure to female the idea of a female utopia.

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser All tools have limitations. That’s why we use toolboxes… #feministsf

@nicolaz: …We need lots of tools. One of the most impt? Relationship: with community, publishers, critics, etc. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Justdar826 Mine too. It blew me away. Part of what got me started. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Hild’s is a big, big story 🙂 #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz earlier, @thefuturefire asked about creating safe space for lesbians characters and readers in your work. thoughts? #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz Fascinating way to see writing. D you think that’s new? Part of hypeconnected web? Or something that has always been? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Ooops. Missed that one. Yes. In my work women are just people who love other people… #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian IMO it’s always been that way. It’s just easier now. We don’t all have to live in NYC. #feministsf

@nicolaz: So, hmmn, I guess you could say (w/regard to lesbianism) all my work is utopian 🙂 #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I just read “It Takes Two” last night, and I enjoyed the normal (and, um, explicit) depictions of sexuality. #feministSF

@Justdar826: @nicolaz #feministsfpart of what got you started? reason enough to alway treasure that book then

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz it occured to me that there’s no homophobic abuse or suspicion or even surprise in those of your books that I’ve read #FeministSF

@outeralliance: Great #feministSF interview with @nicolazhappening right now!

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser That was a blast to write! Did you see: #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @thefuturefire I’m a little fuzzy ont he start of slow river — was her lesbianism part of the parental abuse? can’t recall #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Justdar826 I wrote an essay about that: #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz which is great for characters+story because it’s about real people, good+bad, without having to be about queer struggle #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire No. None. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz and it’s also good for readers, because there’s a whole world with one less potential trigger to worry about #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Nope. Lore’s lesbianism had nothing to do with anything. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@outeralliance I’m having a blast! #feministsf

@Justdar826: @nicolaz and I’ve just bookmarked it to read later. Thx #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz hee, yes. I share your feelings there. sad for people who think mind-blowing sex only happens in fiction. #feministSF#doingitwrong

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire Yes. But they’re not wish-fulfillment fiction because there’s plenty of other ‘problems’ to deal with. #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: note to self: It’s time to re-read Slow River! Can;t be being fuzzy about one of all time favorite books! #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @Rudibrarian “part of” in what sense? A result of–no, I’m pretty sure not. The abuse itself–abuse ≠ orientation, it’s violence #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Well, let me know how the reread goes. I’m always intensely curious about reader response (good and bad). #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz Yes absolutely! Really really bad things happen to some people who happen to be queer, but not because they’re queer. #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire Oh, the fucking ‘queer struggle’. If I never read any more of that I’ll be happy. #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: @nicolaz will do! hmm, is Slow River out on audio? I have a looong drive scheduled next month…. #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: RT @nicolaz: .@thefuturefire Oh, the fucking ‘queer struggle’. If I never read any more of that I’ll be happy. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @thefuturefire @nicolaz but texts that treat queer as normative are radical for that very reason, IMO. #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire But that’s because I left ‘struggle’ behind a long time ago. Others aren’t so luck & need outside validation. #feministsf

@CherylMorgan: Dropping in from Zagreb to note that Croatian fandom is run by women. #feministsf

@Dave_Fouchey: @nicolaz is it utopian or just hopeful? #feministsfLove is Emotion there should be equality across the whole continuum of adult sexuality

@Justdar826: @nicolaz @outeralliance great interview, although I kinda wish we could hear your voice after I heard this #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian No, SR isn’t out in audio, but Kindle will do a text-to-speech thing. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@CherylMorgan Yay! Go Croatian fandom! #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @traciewelser @nicolaz yes, that’s precisely my point. (In fact I think I said that in a comment on your last utopia post 🙂 ) #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@Dave_Fouchey Utopia is all about hope. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire You have my promise: that will never change. #feministsf

@kelleyeskridge: Don’t miss currently-in-progress #feministsfchat with the fabulous Nicola Griffith! Great and wide-ranging conversation.

@nicolaz: If I’ve missed anyone’s question, just ask it again. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz @Dave_Fouchey I love that utopian thinking has come up so many times in this chat. Just sayin.’ #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@Justdar826 When HILD comes out I’d love to do Skype bookgroup chats. #feministsf

@CherylMorgan: RT @kelleyeskridge: Don’t miss currently-in-progress #feministsfchat with the fabulous Nicola Griffith! Great and wide-ranging conversation.

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser In a way, all story is all about striving for Utopia…and the obstacles to that goal… #feministsf

@knownforms: RT @kelleyeskridge: Don’t miss currently-in-progress #feministsfchat with the fabulous Nicola Griffith! Great and wide-ranging conversation.

@traciewelser: @nicolaz can you comment for a moment about writing memoir, re: “And Now…”? #feministSF

@nicolaz: …and the settling for just a bit less and getting okay with that. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: RT @nicolaz: .@thefuturefire You have my promise: that will never change. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz utopia as process, rather than destination. 🙂#feministSF

@patriciasbowne: Your essay describes constructing utopia like a thought experiment. Yet joy of living in one cd be not needing 2 think that way. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser ANWAGTHAP took me 4 months to put together, soup to nuts. I wrote in a blaze, a haze… #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: so does saying utopia a process really reflect the writers’ interests rather than what wd actually make utopia pleasant? #feministsf

@Justdar826: @nicolaz #feministsfOK I really think I’m too old for the pitch of the fan girl squeal that that statement just evoked 😉

@Rudibrarian: This!! How Utopia has changed since Wanderground! RT @traciewelser: @nicolaz utopia as process, rather than destination. 🙂#feministSF

@nicolaz: …ANWAGTHAP was a favour to a friend: a ‘my dad has a barn!’ kind of publishing experiment. One day I hope to republish it. #feministsf

@nicolaz: Because there were only 450 copies made of ANWAGTHAP. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Justdar826 Never too old 🙂 #feministsf

@traciewelser: @patriciasbowne process means utopia is complex and no one gets exactly what they want, but striving makes it valuable. #feministSF

@Rudibrarian: .@nicolaz How would you feel about a Skype chat if I pulled together a Slow River re-read book chat? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Absolutely. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz I had no idea, wow. #feministSF

@patriciasbowne: @traciewelser But that’s only utopia if you like striving for a utopia. Not so many people like that. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Great! But it would depend on timing. The next three months = v. busy for me. #feministsf

@jennifer_durham: @nicolaz In a way life is like that (story) too? Striving for utopia? and being okay with settling for less? #feministsf

@traciewelser: @patriciasbowne when the striving stops, stagnation/repression/dystopia sets in. Utopia means “no place,” remember? 🙂 #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@patriciasbowne I *hate* striving! I’m a lazy writer. Much prefer sitting around eating bonbons. #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@jennifer_durham Yep, but less emphasis on ‘striving’ 🙂 #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: .@nicolaz Maybe in theAugust doldrums? What do you think #feministsf folks? Slow River re-read, skype chat in August? #feministsf

@traciewelser: @Rudibrarian @nicolaz I like this idea and have thought that a skype/Google hangout #feministSFwould be amazing.

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne @traciewelser sure they do! Everyone likes striving and seeing their efforts bear fruit… #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser How about replacing ‘striving’ with ‘ambling towards’? or ‘gambolling towards’ 🙂 #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz Bonbons YES! Love the ambling and gambolling as well. A new genre! #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser @Rudilibrarian But I don’t have video, just audio. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz haha! Shuffling Towards Utopia is gotta be the name of my next something-or-other. #feministSF

@geceosan: RT @nicolaz: .@thefuturefire You have my promise: that will never change. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @Rudibrarian @nicolaz I’m totally up for it. (Hope to be on vacation in August!) #FeministSF

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser No no no, ‘shuffling’ is *not* a fun verb! #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: what a great #feministsfchat today! Amazing how fast an hour goes by, and how much more it brings up!

@jennifer_durham: @nicolaz “Ambling” might make the world a happier place… :)n #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz Strutting, then. 🙂 #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@Rudibrarian Yep, it’s flashed by. Any last questions? #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@traciewelser Swaggering toward Utopia… It should be an anthology. #feministsf

@Wyld_Dandelyon: @traciewelser I like “Shuffling Towards Utopia”. It has a nice contrast to it. #feministsf

@Rudibrarian: ooh! That’s the one!! RT @nicolaz: .@traciewelser Swaggering toward Utopia… It should be an anthology. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne I think of “striving” as anything that takes work: you strive when writing a book, no? And you never *finish*… #FeministSF

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz The more verbs, the more variety. Now I want to find the perfect verb for each character. Thanks loads! #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz thank you so much for the thoughtful chat today. #feministSF

@nicolaz: .@thefuturefire Oh, I so totally finish my books. And then there’s *drinking* 🙂 #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne …writing (I mean you finish book, but not *writing*). You keep improving as long as you live. And that’s great! #FeministSF

@patriciasbowne: @thefuturefire I do finish. One book at a time. I must have rewards, lots of them and often! #feministsf

@nicolaz: .@patriciasbowne Verbs are the most powerful words in a writer’s warchest. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz 140 chars too little. 🙂 Yes, you finish the book, but you don’t finish being a writer. #FeministSF

@patriciasbowne: @nicolaz Thanks so much for being here! #feministsf

@nicolaz: Okay, people. Thank you, all. It’s now time for me to break for lunch. Go read something splendid! #feministsf

@traciewelser: @nicolaz thanks again! #feministSF

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne agreed. Striving toward utopia = making the world better one step at a time. Just never perfect. #FeministSF

@Justdar826: @traciewelser @nicolaz How about ‘Eating Bonbons in Utopia” as a story title? #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @nicolaz Thank you so much. That was a wonderful chat. I’m still buzzing! #FeministSF

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne after all, you and I could agree on improving the world in many ways… but we’d *never* agree on a perfect world! #FeministSF

@Justdar826: @thefuturefire @nicolaz it was great fun! Thanks so much #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @thefuturefire Not so sure- b/c for me a perfect world is often just one that doesn’t force me to think about its imperfections. #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @patriciasbowne I think lots of my characters are the same. Easy to please, hard to motivate. #feministsf

@thefuturefire: @patriciasbowne Well there you go, for me the perfect world would be one in which we don’t need to kid ourselves. 🙂 #FeministSF

@patriciasbowne: @thefuturefire if you’re not thinking abt something, you don’t need to kid yourself abt it. #feministsf

@traciewelser: @thefuturefire @patriciasbowne as much as I love any discussion of utopia, I’m bowing out. cheers! #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: @thefuturefire besides, we all have to kid ourselves abt *something.* The question is whether we kid ourselves about #feministsf

@patriciasbowne: the criteria by which we decide what to kid ourselves abt. #feministsf

@Wyld_Dandelyon: @nicolaz Thanks for stopping by! #feministsf