blogs I read

The power of TK

For example, you’re writing along and hit a note that isn’t important to the plot or anything that is a detail that does need to be added in. Instead of stopping to figure it out, or research it, you write something like “He jumped into the [TK make/model of car] and slammed the door shut.” The ‘TK’ is a somewhat statistically improbable letter combination, so you can, in draft, just do a find for TK and work your way through in a later draft fixing little things.

Read more over at


Daily routines of notable people

I have trouble relating to the whole “gotta write fiction every day” thing. But I do have a routine.

I get up at 6 am on school days, make breakfast, then check email until the kids are ready for school, then after getting home, do whatever I am doing that day, usually at the computer starting around 9 or so, with breaks for housework, yard work, and tending to the animals.

I write (blog, journal, whatever) every day. It’s part of who I am.

But I can’t write fiction every day.

The desire to write fiction seems to come during warm months these days, but I never know when it’s going to happen. But an idea will come that I have to write, and I can’t NOT work on it. I have been known to work for eight or ten hours on a story a day for days straight when it happens, and not feel stressed about it at all. It’s fun.

Then I can go months without a single story happening.

If I don’t have an idea, it seems stupid to waste time sitting at a blank page. I just go read in that case, and sooner or later I’m blogging somewhere.

This lady seems to agree with me (very funny, safe for work):

One thing that struck me about this video is the idea of creativity coming from the divine, taking the pressure off a person to BE a genius rather than CHANNEL the genius.

Now if only I could get this genius thing to edit better …

I just ran across this site called Skin Colored … very interesting!

Skin Coloured is intended to be a collaborative, visual exploration of what it is to be non-white in a white culture. Make-up, plasters [band-aids for us in the US -PL] and tights – even when they’re marked “flesh-coloured” – are not the colour of skin that isn’t white. And whilst white women may have trouble matching these items to their skin, for women who don’t class themselves as white, this inconvenience is symptomatic of a wider problem. To help illustrate this problem, therefore, Skin Coloured is looking for submissions. Send us photographs that illustrate the inadequacy of provisions for non-white people, and we’ll post them on the blog, and hopefully both those submitting, and those who’re here to learn, will gain something from it.

I’d say men have just much as trouble with this … do those ‘skin tone’ band-aids, ankle wraps, etc, match a real person? Do people who don’t match those not have real skin?

I’m bookmarking this one.

From Minions At Work (by J. Steven York):

I got started reading this because one of my sons has a 12″ GI Joe menagerie and makes home movies using them, so I know what goes into that. And who doesn’t love an evil overlord and his minions?

… and then I’ll shut up on the topic for a while.

The other day I was reading James Collier’s blog, and this article caught my eye. The article talked about ‘white guilt’, but the second to the last sentence is what grabbed me:

Obama seems to represent an option, in some minds, for moving towards better solutions, minus the scarlet letter if your skin happens to be white today.

This engendered a visceral reaction: this guy gets it. As I went about my business, this article stayed with me. I came to the conclusion that we don’t need less ‘white guilt’; we need more.

Now someone’s going to say ‘Good God, not more!’ White guilt has gotten the rap for all sorts of bad behavior. Just stay with me for a few minutes.

I’m a part of two 12-step groups. I won’t go into my addictions (I’m not alcoholic; feel free to buy me a drink 😉 ) but one thing we learn about in these groups is guilt.

Guilt is a good thing. Guilt says that you did something wrong. It makes you feel bad about what you’ve done. It motivates you to change, to make amends.

Shame, on the other hand, is toxic. Shame says that there’s something wrong with you. It leads to obsession, addiction, rage, depression. It makes you blame shift, lash out, deny you did anything wrong. Shame destroys your life and everyone around you.

When people talk about ‘white guilt’, what they really mean is ‘white shame’.

Look at that quote above. The scarlet letter (a quintessentially American icon) was not to guilt Hester out. It was to shame her.

White America’s shame has been rolling in with the betrayal and slaughter of the owners of the land we stand on, before the first man was taken as a slave, over 400 years ago, mirrored in the slaughter and pillage of Third Reich Germany. We are drowning in shame, and we drug, distract with television or the internet, buy, and join causes we think might make us feel better. None of it does.

We don’t need any more white shame. What we need is more white guilt. Guilt says “I did something wrong. I need to learn why what I did was wrong and change so I don’t do it again.” Guilt puts the motivation on the guilty party. A guilty man can’t in good conscience sit back and order the people he hurt to teach him what he did, or point fingers, or make excuses as to why what he did wasn’t all that bad, because he feels the guilt of what he did.

So how to move from shame to guilt? A good question. I’ve heard jokes about forming ‘Racists Anonymous’, and maybe that’s what we need. But until we as whites move from shame to guilt, very little will truly change in this country. Actions and words may become more correct, as people are shamed into it, but at a terrible cost.

Broadcasting the Beatles risks alien attack

I couldn’t make this up if I tried…

Nasa started to beam the song towards the North Star, 431 light years from Earth at midnight GMT on Monday, drawing congratulations from former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, who mused that it marked “the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe.”

But today’s New Scientist asks whether such signals could expose us to the risk of attack from mean spirited aliens.

I’m shaking in my boots here.

/end snark

(found the link on Jay Lake’s blog)

John Scalzi gives his kinda-annual talk about money.

I made $164,000 last year from my writing. I’ve averaged more than $100,000 in writing income for the last ten years, which means, for those of you who don’t want to bother with the math, that I’ve made more than a million dollars from my writing in the last decade. In 2000, I wrote a book on finance, The Rough Guide to Money Online. For several years I wrote personal finance newsletters for America Online. When I do corporate consulting, it’s very often been for financial services companies like Oppenheimer Funds, US Trust and Warburg Pincus. I mention this to you so that you know that when I offer you, the new, aspiring and dewey-eyed writer, the following entirely unsolicited advice about money, you’ll know I’m not talking entirely out of my ass.

A great read.

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