Cartoon pic

A wand'ring website I...

My blog has become a wanderer among the various services. Back when I first started a blog (rather than having a simple website), I built it using Google Page Creator, a nicely simple online blog creator.

The service was was discontinued in 2009 and all the blogs moved to Google Sites; since I found the latter quite unsatisfactory, I looked around, tried several (including and Google’s Blogger) and finally settled on Posterous. It was reasonably easy to use, made it simple to share the blog among other services such as Twitter, Facebook and even LiveJournal, and wasn’t difficult to personalize.

So there I was happy and settled — and then the guys who created Posterous sold the service to Twitter. Or rather sold their services to Twitter, because Twitter had next to no interest in Posterous, just in the people that had created it. The service wouldn’t be updated, we were told, but would probably be left as it was.

Until the other day, when it was announced that Posterous was going away in April. So I went back to the site I’d played with a year or two earlier, spend a weekend tweaking it and moving data to it — and now there I am. I suppose I should have learned my lesson by now — I have my own domain and should simply host my own blog. I’m lazy, I guess.

I’ll probably stick with for now, until something else happens that forces me to move once again. But this process of having to redesign and move a blog every two years can get tiring.

Cartoon pic

Musicals in Mufti at the York Theatre

Jim and I (and my mom) went to see a reworking of the musical Two by Two -- written by Peter Stone, lyrics by Martin Charnin and music by Richard Rodgers - at the York Theatre yesterday afternoon. It was part of a series called "Musicals in Mufti," where there is minimal staging and preparations: the actors perform in street clothes and with script in hand. That being said, the cast was marvelous -- it was heading by Jason Alexander as Noah and Tovah Feldshuh as his wife, two extremely talented performers -- and directed by Martin Charnin.

Apparently, when it first ran back in the early 1970s, it starred Danny Kaye, who eventually pretty much ditched the script and took over the show. This time, there are three new songs either restored or pulled in from the Richard Rodgers songbook (and, of course, the original songs as well). It's a good musical, and we enjoyed it immensely, although the ending does sort of fall flat (you can see what the writers are trying to do, but it just didn't work all that well). 

One interesting thing about the performance is that it was NOT miked, which, in this day of omnipresent microphones, was really refreshing. I mean, it was a small theater with good acoustics, and if the actors wanted to be heard, all they had to do was sing out...

In fact, we enjoyed it so much that Jim and I have gotten tickets to see the next products in two weeks: Hollywood Pinafore, with book and lyrics by George S. Kaufman and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. (Yes, of course that Sullivan!). Apparently, in 1945 Kaufman decided to reset the operetta in Hollywood, in which a studio director's daughter is in love with a lowly writer...  We're both G&S fans, and are really looking forward to it.

Posted via email from BrooklynWriter

Cartoon pic

If you're looking for something to read...

Just wanted to remind folks that I have two stories that were recently published online and are available for anyone who'd like to try them out:

The Memory of Touch (Cosmos): A science fiction story about a space traveler who was emotionally damaged by an encounter with a new alien species, but is now asked to fight it.

The Call Comes (Atomic Avarice): A short short about socks on the living room couch and terrorism.

If you're more into print, the latest anthology of short stories from Crossed Genre is now out, and I'm represented in there as well:

The Didibug Pin (Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction): A worker stuck in a company town decides to escape her fate.

Cartoon pic

Reflections after spending time in a hospital emergency room

[Quick note, before you ask: Everything's fine. Really.]

Hospital emergency wards (at least the ones that I’ve visited) exhibit an air of controlled chaos, especially to patients and their families who, as soon as they enter, are suddenly completely overwhelmed by the mysteries of the system.

You offer your information to the triage nurse: What’s the problem? How long has this been going on? Has it happened before? Are you having trouble breathing/swallowing/seeing/talking/etc.? What medications are you on and what are you allergic to? Go sit over there; you’ll be called.

You are surrounded by people with purpose (staff) and people who are waiting anxiously (patients and families of patients). A woman in hospital gown, robe and slippers sits near you in the hallway, her head supported wearily in her hands. Who is she and does anyone know why she’s here? Apparently; after about 15 minutes, two men with ID badges and stethoscopes around their necks come and talk quietly to her, then escort her away.

These are the walk-in cases; anything that is critical, that is life-and-death, seems to be happening elsewhere. Occasionally, a gurney is pushed through the narrow corridor with an unhappy-looking occupant; they seldom stay.

In one area, a bank of about 25 computers; at any one time, at least half are occupied. And somehow, although you feel that there is no way they can ever find you, sitting anonymously in the corridor, they do (perhaps because of those same computers). Even when you’re sent to the x-ray area, where for a while you seem to be the only people there, eventually somebody calls your name. Relief: You’re not forgotten.

All along the way, nurses, interns (impossibly young) and doctors ask you questions, run tests, go away, come back, ask more questions, run more tests. Everybody is calm, reassuring; they take everything you say seriously.

But despite the careful calm here, there are undercurrents of humanity as well.

A doctor complains to an administrative aid: His chair keeps disappearing, and the one that replaced it is “so low I’m practically sitting on the floor.” He wants a sign of some sort on it so people won’t keep taking it for somebody else; maybe something that says “Doctors Only.”

Several people sitting at the computers call out to a woman passing by; she’s apparently just come back from vacation. Another woman walks past with several red balloons floating on strings; they’re heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day. A gift from her spouse? Presents for other staffers? Or just something to cheer up the patients?

A nurse’s aide sits, coughs and looks miserable; she’s waiting for a form from one of the doctors so she can take the day off. I wonder how many other staffers here are ill and try not to breath her air. In fact, the place is freezing; it turns out that they are pushing air constantly through the emergency area because so many people are coming in with flu. A hospital is not a healthy place to be.

As I said, I’ve been in hospital emergency wards several times, always accompanying others. Sometimes, the situation was dire, and the patient was admitted. Sometimes, the doctor recommended admittance, but when pushed, was able to treat the patient and send us home. Sometimes, treatment was relatively simple and there was no question of hospitalization.

In all cases, there is a sense of being powerless in the face of medical knowledge and a huge bureaucracy -- and simultaneously needing to stay alert, to be aware, to check and recheck everything that’s being done and be ready to ask, to object, to offer an opinion despite your lowly status as a patient or a patient’s family member.

I’m glad that we have access to this type of expertise. But my god, it’s exhausting.

Posted via email from BrooklynWriter

Cartoon pic

Now available: Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction

The latest anthology from Crossed Genres -- Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction -- is now out! Why does she announce this, you may well ask? Naturally, because I have a story in it...

Here's the official description and the table of contents. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but when I do, I'm looking forward to reading it...

Inline image 1

Miner. Harvester. Mechanic. Sanitation Worker. These are not the typical careers of your average science fiction protagonist. Until now.

From the literal guts of a spaceship, to the energy-starved lands of a future Earth, to the inhospitable surfaces of other planets, MENIAL explores the stories of people who understand and maintain the building blocks of civilization. They work hard, live hard, and love hard. They’re not afraid to build the future they want to live in, even knowing the often high human cost of hard labor.

AJ Fitzwater – “Diamond in the Rough”
M. Bennardo – “Thirty-Four Dollars”
Sean Jones – “A Tale of a Fast Horse”
Barbara Krasnoff – “The Didibug Pin”
Camille Alexa – “Sarah 87″
A.D. Spencer – “Carnivores”
Andrew C. Releford - “Urban Renewal”
Matthew Cherry – “Storage”
Angeli Primlani – “Snowball the Rabbit Was Dead”
Jasmine M. Templet – “Leviathan”
Margaret M. Gilman – “All in a Day’s Work”
Kevin Bennett – “The Belt”
Jude-Marie Green – “Far, Far From Land”
Clifford Royal Johns – “Big Steel In The Sky”
Sophie Constable – “Air Supply”
Dany G. Zuwen – “The Heart of the Union”
Sabrina Vourvoulias – “Ember”

Cover art by Jael Bendt

Edited by Kelly Jennings and Shay Darrach

Posted via email from BrooklynWriter

Cartoon pic

"The Memory of Touch" reviewed in Cosmic Vinegar

I was pleased to find that my story "The Memory of Touch" which recently appeared in Cosmos, and Matthew Kressel's bittersweet tale "The Sounds of Old Earth" from Lightspeed, were reviewed in the latest edition of the journal Cosmic Vinegar

Actually, although the article is classified as a review, it seems (to me, anyways) to be more of an analysis of the two stories from a socio-political viewpoint -- and an interesting one, bringing up aspects of the narratives that had not occurred to me. 

I really love it when somebody who reads one of my stories sees things in it that I wasn't aware of when I was writing it. Makes me feel as though the story has assumed a life of its own, so to speak.

Posted via email from BrooklynWriter

Cartoon pic

Story sold to Clockwork Phoenix 4

I had a wonderful New Year's gift yesterday. I found out that my story "The History of Soul 2065" was accepted for publication in the upcoming anthology Clockwork Phoenix 4.

Clockwork Phoenix is a fine, innovative publication edited by Mike Allen; I was lucky enough to have a story in #2 (called "Rosemary, That's for Remembrance") and am very pleased to have made it into this edition as well.

Posted via email from BrooklynWriter