I know I am very much GAFIA. It's been nearly twenty years since I have trod the byways of fandom. I still have lots of friends in science fiction fandom, but -- for instance -- it's been years since I knew the names of TAFF and DUFF winners.
But. Spokane, the new winner of the Worldcon race? Boggle.
I just realized that Samuel R. Delany has now been a published novelist for 50 years (The Jewels of Aptor, 1962). Gee! I just had a conversation with him three weeks or so ago; I wish that I'd thought of that to congratulate him.
He was my favorite writer as I passed from adolescence to adulthood, and his writing colored my theories about dealing with life and people. I was fortunate to stumble upon science fiction fandom* -- the writing part, not the movie and tv part -- and somehow, David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer got it in their head that I would be a perfect houseboy** for Samuel Delany, who needed one to take care of his mudane life while he worked his very late book.
So I went. I should have written down all of it; now, it's faint, except I was very happy, and amazed. We talked constantly, and I felt stretched; I wish I had a teacher like that. Chip -- which everybody called him -- was frank, penetrating, the most intelligent man I know, and, especially, was perpetually fascinated; he said that everybody was interesting. Ever since, I tried to keep that belief.
I'm grateful for many things that were, really, random, but they happened to me young enough that they shaped me.
* thank you, Patrick and Teresa.
** some people snerk at this. whatever.
Now, it's not me who said that; it's Denny Hamlin.
(Who's Kyle Petty and Denny Hamlin? Hamlin is a NASCAR driver, and Petty is a ex-driver, now employed by Fox Sports as an analyst.)
Kyle Petty admits he was wrong about Hamlin in this particular case (and it doesn't matter to my post). But Petty does not apologize for voicing his opinions:
"Sometimes I find myself the lone dissenting voice in this sea of political correctness, and I don't think everything has to be politically correct. Facts are facts, and honestly, it's just my opinion. I don't think that any of us -- me, Kyle Petty, media, the drivers, NASCAR, track owners, we aren't all right all the time. We don't all live in a utopian society where everything is perfect. There are things that need to be examined, that need to be called out, and I seem to be the only one that says it. That's the only way I've always been. It's just my opinion. It's just my question. Its questions that have to be asked. Just as it's their job to go out and drive the race car and do what they do, it's not our job to ask if they went fishing or went to the Bahamas and just ask the fluff. It's our responsibility to inform the fan base.''
Isn't he great? Let's give Kyle Petty a big hand!
I am reading the whole Paris Review interview section, entire, from the 1950s to the present, which they have generously put up online. Right now I am reading the interview with Dorothy Parker. I wasn't familiar with the name Perle Mesta, so I looked her up.
Quoting Wikipedia: "Mesta was known as the 'hostess with the mostest [sic]'."
I guess they were worried about their knowledge of the English language.
Two days ago: finished Baum's The Sea Fairies. It ended better than it began. The first half of it was Baum's patented punning travelogue, only duller than usual. I had to look up "codfish aristocrat", for instance, and while I appreciate the education, having to look up a simple pun detracts from my enjoyment. On the other hand, the curiously philosophical happy slave, Sacho, is the best boy character apart from Button Bright in Baum.
Now I'm reading Franklin P. Adams's Tobogganing Down Parnassus. I've never read any Adams, and I collect humorists.
My spelling is coming back -- that is, thoughtlessly, automatically -- but I still sometimes forget to spell "n", especially in a consonant blend. Maybe it's a "quiet" sound. I don't know why, but forgetting "n" is about half my spelling mistakes (until I look up and see it).
I'm probably going to write again. Probably. It's very hard now, but I'm realizing that not writing is harder; so I must. Writing is my self-definition, and even though I suck right now (don't argue, it's true by my own definition), not writing would mean I'd be a different person, and, really, I don't know how.
My thoughts are scattered still. I'm sitting here, trying to gather them. They're mostly outside my grasp.
One thing: Sometimes I am very depressed. That's going to be my favorite thing to write about. Well, not being depressed, but the specific manifestations of my stroke. I certainly don't mind if you go away.
It is almost dizzying how much better my life is workwise and logistically now than this time last year; so much better that the edge isn’t really in sight behind me (barring health catastrophe).
--Me, less than six months before my stroke
Debbi converted to Zoroastrianism and distributes leaflets in Fresno bus shelters. Vicki has returned to her first love, waitressing. Michael is a lobster fisher in the Maritimes. Susanna was carried off by a twister.
Looking for a man who "walks to a different drummer," "takes the road less traveled," and isn't afraid to say the emperor's naked, even when it isn't "politically correct." Are you my "free thinker"?
My question pondered, carefully rehearsed,
Submitted to an oracle profound.
The Salesman of Cubicles reversed,
The Five of Networks binding all around.
A pause, a click, an inauspicious sound,
It spits a blank. My high-tech fortune's cursed.
If tarot chips won't tell me what they've found,
I'll slink back home, and just assume the worst.
While my opinion runs counter to the critical consensus, it has nothing to do with unusual bravery and insight on my part, or cowardice and conventionality on the part of my colleagues. I'm just a bit odd.
There are no bats in this movie.
No one sucks a potato through a straw.
Neither the best boy nor the gaffer ever worked with Trent Lott.
Astrology plays no meaningful role.
Queen Victoria expressed no known opinion regarding this film.
No vehicle of mass conveyance plunges over a cliff.
The credits were not signaled in morse code by Bill Robinson.
There is no mysterious pattern of hair loss among the cast members.
The screenwriter did not go on to a successful career in politics.
There are no scenes in courtrooms, mining pits, or abattoirs.
Nothing Pauline Kael has said is likely to change anyone's mind about this film.
If you cut this film into millimeter-wide strips and strung them all together, it would not reach the moon.
The plot does not turn on a deathbed confession about the oatmeal.
The film never made the American Legion's censorship list.
It is no more nutritious than most films. Probably less.
I don't remember whether mumblety-peg occurs, but it is of no great importance.
If the male lead were dropped on your foot, it would hurt.
It was not filmed in feel-o-rama.
You can't roller-skate in a buffalo herd.
Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is all in your head, as usual.
It is not NORMAN... IS THAT YOU?
There have been two main things said by the opponents of drugs for the last thirty years that have been borne out by events, one overt and one covert. The first is, "If you take drugs we will do everything within our power to ruin your life." The second is, "And if we have to ruin society to do it, well, every war has collateral damage. We're destroying the nation to save it."
People describe me as odd, different, strange, a bit touched. That's their way of saying I'm a bizarroid. Sometimes they call me unusual or weird, in which case what they mean is I'm truly mental. When they want to say that I'm certifiable, instead they call me bugfuck, gonzo, waaaaay out there man. But when they describe me as deviant, atypical, outlandish, irregular, mutated, off-the-wall, kooky, loony, wacky, unorthodox, not all there, screwy, unconventional, offbeat, goony, unstable, wayward, and flaky, that's when I know that they think, deep down and after all is said and done, that I'm just a bit predictable.
Over the weekend I dreamed that me and a bunch of my friends were invited to take away a bunch of books from an old house. I got there too late, and all the good books were taken, but it turned out that accepting a book was actually a transmission for an alien virus, and all my friends were now part of the same hive mind, though they retained their individual personalities, which was pretty creepy when they were trying to persuade me, each in their own distinctive way, to join the hive. I knew as long as I didn't accept anything anyone else gave me I would be safe, but I had to consider the possibility that it was better to be part of an alien hive mind than still have my own will but be alone in the world.
I am now the publisher of the Sonicnet front page every morning. So I figure I'm getting paid to not write my own headlines:
MTV IN PAYOLA SCANDAL
TOWER TO GIVE AWAY ALL MUSIC FOR FREE
ARISTA REPLACES CLIVE DAVIS WITH DRUNK STOAT
FRED DURST FLAYED
Look, Oingo Boingo were pretty damn good, but put down XTC and I kill you. They disconnect my atoms and rearrange them; they reprogram my synapses and polish my dendrites; they save my life every two weeks. If that's pretentious, man, lock me in grad school and shower me with footnotes.