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14th-Apr-2017 08:59 pm - State of the (Live)Journal
I should have been born a cat
This journal is now defunct, and I will probably not be using LJ for reading or commenting. Instead, please come find me on Dreamwidth!
9th-Nov-2016 11:18 pm - The election, grief, self-care
Yesterday I woke early (~4 hours of sleep) due to election anxiety, and I played video games all day long in desperate escapism, and it was such a long day, and it only got worse. Nothing sunk in until I woke this morning. The language I keep hearing is "grief" and that is what it feels like—a distant, difficult to access, sincere loss.

Loss of faith, I suppose. I'm politically aware and I voted, but I think I didn't believe Trump was an existing threat; it felt absurd, surreal, a practical joke in particularly bad taste. And I know bigots exist, but I forget the ways in which my privilege and sheltered life and physical location save me from seeing most of them—they too had a distance. And in that space between me and these forces of hate there was a sort of faith, that despite our stellar examples of bad humanity we were not that at our core.

I've been proactively keeping occupied. Last night, after the results, I made baked whole apples (stuffed with oats and brown sugar), escaped into a book, took a sleep aid & passed out. Today I swept downstairs and brushed the dog, and then made superb apple crumble. I winged the recipe, but Dee bought vanilla ice cream and the apples were tender but not mushy and the spices were robust and the topping was rich and toasted—this small and objectively useless but pure good thing. I did everything while listening to podcasts, uninterrupted hours of The Black Tapes and Tanis. And I called home, and talked to my mom—as I told her, not because there was anything she could do, but just for the solidarity and comfort. She spent the day a haircut and manicure, and binge watching a show on Netflix. Tumblr today was a quiet comfort, most people I follow only flooding their feeds with forms of distraction.

It felt like self-care was all that many of us could do today.

Mental illness means that self-care is my entire life; I'm not sure what that will say about what comes next. I'm in a position of limited personal danger, but that's largely because I've absented myself from ... well, everything. (E.g. as an unemployed dependent, I would benefit from national healthcare—but am consistently too sick to seek care. I want the system to benefit other people, but its benefits or lack thereof doesn't effect me—most things don't effect me—I don't pay taxes I don't leave the house I don't, significantly, exist.) It's a weird place of privilege that originates from a disability. I'm terrified for those less privileged and more at risk. I'm not sure I'm in a position to help anyone.

But there was help in what I saw today from the communities I'm invested in. On one hand, this rude awakening, this shame and fear and rage, that the apparently impossible has happened & has always been possible. But on the other, our communal grief and terror, and our communal soothing, matters.

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Title: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers
Editor: Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Published: New York: Open Road, 1998
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 350
Total Page Count: 176,955
Text Number: 518
Read Because: fan of the editors, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: 22 stories that combine fantasy with erotica by exploring seductive, magical, unearthly lovers and romances. Datlow and Windling, especially in combination, are accomplished anthologists, but this is the closest I've come to disappointed with their work. For one, only three stories feature queer relationships (two others have them in background roles); the heteronormativity is toxic and uncreative, a particular oversight in a collection of strange love. (Compare to something like Caitlín R. Kiernan's phenomenal The Ammonite Violin & Others.) At its worst, the heteronormativity is damning: the stories are magical and strange only because the attractive, desirable women have power that threatens their everyman partners. For another, the collection has an unforgivably slow start: you can skip the first seven stories and miss nothing.

There's a marked improvement with the first standout story: Elizabeth E. Wein's "No Human Hands to Touch," an unlovable, intimate retelling of Morgan LeFay's relationship with Mordred. Doris Egan's "The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning Clove" is less profound, but successfully explores power dynamics, violence, and sensuality. Kelley Eskridge's "The Eye of the Storm" is my favorite, no contest—its exploration of violence, sensuality, poly dynamics, and the balance between personal need and social interaction is engrossing.* The unique concept and sympathetic, quiet execution of Mark Tiedemann's "Private Words" makes for the last standout story. I found this collection worth it for those four, but the rest is passable at best and a waste of time at worst. I don't recommend it—

—But for finding Eskridge's short fiction, I'm glad I read it.

* See also: Elizabeth A. Lynn's Chronicles of Tornor: similar second world settings, similar fluid interpersonal relationships, similar fluid physical redefinition, similar id-level wish-fulfillment, similar focus on interpersonal intimacy and personal growth, also, just, really good, both of them.

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