Notes from the Labyrinth
Unobtainium and Dragons' Bones
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ws: hamlet

This is the blog of Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison, a professional writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Sarah Monette is my real name; Katherine Addison is a pen name, intended to be transparent.

If you've found me here, odds are pretty good you're looking for something to read, so the following is--to the best of my knowledge--a complete list of everything I've written that's available online:

STORIESCollapse )
ESSAYSCollapse )

If you know of anything I've missed, please leave a comment!
16th-Mar-2014 10:23 am - 5 things, Sunday, March 16
mfu: ik-geek
Mateusz Skutnik has released Submachine 9. I am beside myself with glee.

(If you want more Submachine, the entire series is here.)

Gandalf checks his email. BEST PHOTO EVAR.

I believe Catzilla turned off the little Cthulhu machine this morning by walking on it. Proof (a) that the people who designed the damn thing have never lived with a cat and (b) that my cat is THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL.

I had not known about EarlyWord until it was drawn to my attention that The Goblin Emperor got a nice shout-out on their GalleyChat summary for March 4.

There's also a very positive review from Justin Landon at Staffer's Book Review, who admits he went in prepared to hate the book and was won over anyway. I think that's the first time I've pulled that trick off.

(I know if you're reading this blog, you probably don't need to be persuaded to buy the book. Humor me.)

I finally have a day job that is both permanent and part-time (instead of working as a full-time temp, which is what I've been doing the past two and a half years). I am very happy with it; it has taught me that, oddly enough, I enjoy accounting, which is a piece of self-knowledge I wish I'd had in college. It satisfies the same part of my brain that likes Latin and calculus (and Submachine, come to think of it). And I totally get an endorphin cookie when my numbers balance.

Also, if anyone knows any good resources for DIY double-entry bookkeeping, please share! I took a Continuing Education Accounting Intro course, but the textbook, as it turned out, was not very reliable. And my employer is unlikely to be able to spring for accounting software any time soon, so it's just me and Excel.
What the respiratory therapist will neglect to mention about your little Cthulhu machine: Getting the mask to seal is not automatic. Or easy. Or sometimes even possible.

What the respiratory therapist will also neglect to mention: The straps of the mask have a tendency to self-adjust. This is not a hidden features. This is a STUNNINGLY POOR DESIGN CHOICE.

What you will learn the hard way: Even if you get the mask to seal initially, odds are still good you will wake up in the middle of the night to discover it has slipped. At which point, odds become almost catastrophically poor that you will be able to get it to reseal without coming all the way awake, and also thrashing about a good deal. Swapping one mask for another may actually help, but that's a delicate and complex operation which you cannot turn the light on for, because your poor spouse is trying to sleep. ALso, see above re: AWAKE.

What the respiratory therapist WILL tell you when you ask for help: A water-based lubricant makes it easier to achieve a seal.

What the respiratory therapist WON'T tell you: Water-based lubricant dries out after about two hours, and there you are back to square fucking one.

What the Internet will tell you: A + D Ointment is great for getting a mask to seal!

What the respiratory therapist will tell you when you ask: Yes, it is, but it also eats your mask. OIL-BASED, LOSER.

What the respiratory therapist will also tell you: You might as well give it a try. If it works, you can decide if you want to buy masks more often.

What you already know: Your insurance will only cover a new mask every six months. Because only slackers would need one more often.

What you will learn the hard way: A + D does indeed help with achieving a seal. However, IT dries out after about 4 hours, and after that it is just as useless as anything else. Also, it leaves you feeling kind of greasy.

What will make you mad enough to chew nails and spit bullets: Saying fuck it all and turning off the machine for the rest of the night is not the answer. It only results in feeling like death on fried styrofoam in the morning.

What will make you throw in the towel for the night : The realization that, instead of getting back to sleep, you're writing this blog post in your head.
1. Yesterday I posed with a giant inflatable colon to promote colorectal cancer awareness. Most surreal Thursday morning ever.

Yes, a colonoscopy is not the most fun you will ever have, but speaking as a friend of the awesome Jay Lake and as someone who has had a polyp removed from her colon and will be going back for another screening in a couple years, colon cancer needs to be beaten to death with a stick.

2. Liz Bourke has reviewed The Goblin Emperor for As an author, positive reviews are great, but what you really want are good reviews, reviews that understand the book you tried to write and convey it well. This is that kind of review.

3. I am currently undergoing all kinds of adjustments to my . . . I don't even know what to call it. The victory conditions for sleep? They're shipping me a different mask to try with the little Cthulhu machine. It will still look like a disastrous attempt at an elephant costume, but hopefully it will (a) be more comfortable and (b) seal to my face better. Yes, I have seen Aliens. Please don't remind me.

But ALSO, my sleep doctor and I are trying to rejigger my RLS medications, because I'd gotten to the point where it was requiring way too much narcotics to club the damn thing into unconsciousness. The new medication is definitely working, so that's a plus, and I am re-weaning myself off the narcotics. Yes, there has been just a tiny bit of withdrawal. I haven't gone off them entirely yet, but I am working on it because I hate the damn drugs. I am hoping that when I can finally stop taking them, I will be less tired and also that my creativity will come back again.

It did come back in December and January before drying up again in February, and the creepy thing is that I can actually articulate the difference. When everything is working correctly (i.e., what I thought of as "normal" until the clusterfuck began in 2010), there are words in my head. Well, there are always words in my head. I am like Hector Puncheon, who "usually thought articulately, and often, indeed, conversed quite sensibly aloud with his own soul." So maybe it's more accurate to say that the staus quo ante, to which I desire ardently to return, is that there are stories forming, word by word. Because there are words, separate from my internal narration/dialogue. They form themselves into sentences, and the sentences form narratives. When it was working right, I would frequently "get" sentences from Booth out of nowhere.

Now, I can force prose. There are always days when you have to. But it's not the same, at least from my side of the proscenium, and I really didn't realize what I'd lost until I had it back. I didn't realize that there was a wellspring, that I wasn't imagining that writing used to involve joy instead of just grim desperation.

I had it back, and then the RLS went bad, and it was gone again. I knew that bad RLS nights correlated with low or nonexistent creativity, and now I know what it's attacking. I know that there's a thing that should be there that isn't. And I can only hope that it can grow back. Again.
Thus far I have woken up:
  • once dreaming of vaccuum cleaners only to discover the seal on the damn mask had slipped
  • once with the tubing wrapped around my torso like a pageant sash
  • somewhere between "several" and "countless" times with the tubing wrapped around my neck like a squamous or possibly batrachian version of "Porphyria's Lover"

Things are getting better. I'm not yet noticing any improvement in my general level of fatigue, but I no longer feel like my little Cthulhu machine is actively sabotaging me. So that's something.
We consulted the manuals, we examined all the plugs and connectors, we tried everything we could think of to try, which between the two of us was pretty much everything except sacrificing a goat, and we didn't try that only because we didn't happen to have a goat handy.

The machine sat there and blinked. Sometimes it blinked slowly, sometimes it blinked quickly, sometimes it did double-blinks. It would not turn on, it would not turn off. It. Just. Fucking. Blinked.

Tomorrow, obviously, I will be calling the home health people, and inquiring if, perhaps, my Cthulhu machine is defective.

You may imagine my excitement.
3rd-Nov-2013 09:53 am - Adventures in sleeping
ws: hamlet
I didn't go to any costume parties, and I haven't been trick-or-treating in almost thirty years, but I can truthfully say that this year I was the Bride of Frankenstein for Halloween.

in which my Halloween was weirder than yoursCollapse )
18th-Dec-2011 08:57 am - 5 things
ws: hamlet
1. I'm seeing a sleep therapist now, because I would like to get off the potentially addictive hypnotic that is currently holding my insomnia down. She told me what I really already knew, that I need to get on a fixed schedule of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Which means getting up at 6:30 on weekends. I HATE THIS. I have always been a night owl, and mornings are my favorite time to sleep. But I am determined to give this fixed schedule a fair shot, so here I am, awake and fed and medicated and dressed at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. (Nobody says I have to move fast on weekends, just that I have to get up.)

The fixed schedule idea also means that I have to go to bed--as in, in bed, lights out, eyes shut, at 10:15. And ideally I need to try to decrease my computer usage in the late evenings, because of light issues (photosensitivity plus glow of monitor equals confused circadian rhythms). Which means I have even less time to get computer things done, and I am still trying to finish this goddamn book. Ergo, as little as I have been an online presence in recent months, I'm going to be even less of one, at least for a while. Which is Teh Suck, but I have to find a way to keep the insomnia chained in the basement, and long-term drug usage is just not the way I want to go.

2. So, when I was making my whirlwind trip to Boston, I discovered that O'Hare has a Field Museum store. This is a brilliantly terrible idea on the Field Museum's part, but it did mean I could take matociquala meerkat socks as a hostess gift (because seriously--meerkat socks). And I bought for myself a pair of tiny Sue earrings. They have become my favorite earrings--for the one set of holes I don't just leave rings in all the time--for days I don't have to dress like an adult.

3. Two really nice capsule reviews of The Bone Key: (1) and (2). And Somewhere Beneath Those Waves got a starred review from Library Journal (here if you're interested) and a very kind mention from Lesley Hall over at Aqueduct Press's blog.

4. These fossa pups, Ingrid, Heidi, and Gretchen, show that Madagascar really knows how to work the charismatic predator* angle.

5. Have a picture of Milo and me:

(Stepping Stones Studio 2011)
*ursulav came up with that useful designation.
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