Single Exposure

April 27, 2020

Sierra as a broken tooth in the bathroom, peeling tangerine rinds from her thighs, waiting for something to bloom. Sierra as salt down my back in glimmering light, as a dream I once had, as the dream I never had. Sierra as bloody diamonds, bloody gold, as her mouth pockmarked and full, waiting, easy, slowly, kiss me, fuck. Sierra as the person I didn’t let exist inside me, as the broken horse, the watery eyes, the twisted leg, and I didn’t want to shoot her. In the backyard, no barn, no midwest, no dreary Ohio dreams, me and you, Sierra, letting the mosquitoes ricochet across our palms, and I had a gun in my hands and you’re going to let me shoot you, you’re not going to cry. Belly kisses and you broke the windows with your bare hands. Belly kisses and sometimes, I blink and you’re shimmering, sometimes I blink and the light devours you. Sometimes it’s hard to pretend that you didn’t bleed, Sierra.

Yasmin Belkhyr

The importance of science fiction (SF) in our time is on the increase. First, there are strong indications that its popularity in the leading industrial nations (United States, USSR, United Kingdom, Japan) has risen sharply over the last 100 years, despite all the local and short-range fluctuations. SF has particularly affected such key strata or groups of modern society as college graduates, young writers, and the avant-garde of general readers appreciative of new sets of values. This is a significant cultural effect which goes beyond any merely quantitative census. Second, if one takes as the minimal generic difference of SF the presence of a narrative novum (the dramatis personae and/or their context) significantly different from what is the norm in “naturalistic” or empiricist fiction, it will be found that SF has an interesting and close kinship with other literary subgenres that flourished at different times and places of literary history:  the classical and medieval “fortunate island” story,  the “fabulous voyage” story from antiquity on, the Renaissance and Baroque “utopia” and “planetary novel,” the Enlightenment “state [political] novel,” the modern “anticipation” and “anti-utopia.” Moreover, although SF shares with myth, fantasy, fairy tale, and pastoral an opposition to naturalistic or empiricist literary genres, it differs very significantly in approach and social function from such adjoining non-naturalistic or metaempirical genres. Both these complementary aspects, the sociological and the methodological, are being vigorously debated by writers and critics in several countries, evidence of lively interest in a genre that should undergo scholarly discussion too.

Darko Suvin

The end of life on earth

April 27, 2020

‘Life on Earth never settled down to doing anything very good. Science ran too far ahead of us too quickly, and the people got lost in a mechanical wilderness, like children making over pretty things, gadgets, helicopters, rockets; emphasising the wrong items, emphasising machines instead of how to run the machines. Wars got bigger and bigger and finally killed Earth…That’s what we ran away from.’

Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles

Finance and writers

April 27, 2020

I always encourage new writers to keep a day job or freelancing job on top of the writing work for as long as possible, before health and/or sanity gives out. I’ve burned out a couple of times, going this route. And I got brutally sick within a month of picking up a day job again.

I’m getting too old for this shit. But I don’t want to give up writing. And I don’t want to live on credit cards until I break them and end up in abject pov­erty. Gotta get up. Gotta work. Gotta keep going. The writing life.

Folks ask often me how one maintains “bal­ance” when juggling so many income streams, but the hustle isn’t about balance. For many of us, the hustle is about survival. Survival not only for ourselves, but for the households we support. And while we struggle, the truth is that there are many who struggle a lot more.  The uncertainty of the job market, the lack of employee protections and social safety nets,  impacts us all.  It’s not only writers and freelancers who are hit hard by gig and hustle culture. It’s everyone who doesn’t have a trust fund to fall back on.

Kameron Hurley
The Tricky Finances of the Adjunct Writer

Spring lambs, beautifully white, following their bedraggled mums. Walking on the moor in the afternoon in the bright sunshine. Fabulous.