A Rumination on Being Followed

Not too long ago, my Twitter feed noted to me that I’d been followed by what I understand to be the Twitter account of one of the larger fan-organizations that has grow up around Robin Hobb. I’ll admit to being flattered by the follow (I post my thoughts on a number of things in several places–here, here, and here, among others–so I am clearly looking for attention, and I am just as clearly glad to find it; too, a major fan-group is a coup for someone else who very much enjoys the author’s work). But I also admit to being somewhat…concerned about the follow; my experience with fandoms has been…other than optimal, as I’ve noted before, and while it does not logically follow that present conditions will follow past experience, there is more to reason than logic. After all, if you see a wolf eat the last nine hands placed between its jaws, how likely are you to offer your hand as the tenth?

I’m not quite so brave…
I’m told the image, here, is public domain…

I’m willing to admit that my…apprehension about the follow is a result of my overall timorousness. I am a fearful person, risk-averse to what is likely an unhealthy extent, long accustomed to following rules because I am scared of the consequences of not doing so. And while I see others flout rules or look elsewhere when they ought to be enforcing them, while I see others act without so much concern, I know–I know–that if I put a toe out of line, it will be trod upon or cut off. I’m not one of Cinderella’s stepsisters; I do not think that my chances of a prince coming to sweep me away will be the better if I can fit my foot into a smaller shoe. In addition, people watching me, although I clearly want it in some ways, prickles me. I have been in positions where I’ve been…monitored closely, my actions subjected to constant review, and while I’ve not suffered such as much as many, it’s still not something I’m entirely at ease with–and fandoms, particularly the nerdier types, as I well know, attend to minutiae.

Some things, I might well be able to handle. I’ve moderated such comments as my blogs receive for some time, now, and I’ve seen the kinds of things that get posted. Hell, I’ve been getting written death threats since I was ten–and I’m not far from forty as I write this, although I’ve got a couple of years yet. I have received and earned no few insults, and I’ve gotten no dearth of “more constructive” criticism (some of which I’ve even taken to heart, if it can be believed). I don’t look forward to being subjected to censure and ridicule (again), just as I don’t look forward to being corrected (although I can accept it when I’m wrong; let me know the spinach is between my teeth, but do not expect me to be pleased that I had the spinach stuck there). But I can deal with them.

What I’m worried about, really, with this blog, with the other blogs, with being followed, with my wife and my daughter, is that I’m not good enough. It’s the impostor syndrome thing writ again and again, and while I eventually got over it in the classroom–for as much good as that did me–I feel an impostor in more and larger arenas than that. I am worried that I do not suffice, and I do not know how to do so–only how to stop being out where I can be seen or plow ahead.

I do not think I cannot be seen anymore.

If you like what I’m doing, send a little help my way, please!

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 186: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 7

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Dragon Ship,” begins with Wintrow being forced back into consciousness by the dragon that underlies the Vivacia. His return to thought presents the ship with the revelation of what she truly is, and it breaks forcefully and painfully upon her. Wintrow staggers to the foredeck to try to comfort the ship and is rebuffed by the dragon, which contests psychically with the ship for control of the craft. Kennit is aware of the tumult and comes forward as well as the struggle continues, emerging into the physical world as the dragon tries to take over the figurehead and turn its arms against the ship. Suddenly, the figurehead loses all color and returns to being still wizardwood; the sight rattles Kennit, and, at Etta’s urging and Wintrow’s, he withdraws; Wintrow follows suit.

Probably not this kind of thing, no…
Image of a section of the Bayeux Tapestry, taken from Wikipedia and used for commentary as permitted by a Creative Commons license

Below deck, Etta tends to both captain and boy, musing on the latter’s injuries and the former’s evident despair. Wintrow reports what he can of his experiences and understanding to Kennit, the captain reacting poorly and in some disbelief to the information provided. After more conference, though, Kennit regains his confidence and purposes to reawaken the ship. He also plies Wintrow with liquor and has him put to bed, after which he takes a tour of the ship, coming to talk with the figurehead–which surprises him by answering his words in the dragon’s upbraiding voice. A tense exchange follows, and a tentative agreement between the dragon and Kennit is struck; the charm at Kennit’s wrist notes approval. And, nearby, She-Who-Remembers sings to the ship, settling in to follow her onward.

Some of what occurs in the chapter, some of the ideas that come up elsewhere and tie into Wintrow’s discussion in the chapter, are matters it occurs to me to treat in my forthcoming paper for the Tales after Tolkien Society at the 2021 International Congress on Medieval Studies; they are worth treating (as I clearly think), but because I am promised to deliver original work, I cannot give that treatment here at the moment. Later, though, I may well do so; I’ve done such things before, after all…

Aside from such things, though, there’s not a lot that strikes me about the present chapter–unless it is that Etta seems uncommonly servile in it. I am not sure how to regard it, even having read the novel more than once before; I am not certain what attitudes are being depicted, really, and so I do not know as I write this what I should make of it. But fiction, even escapist fiction, does not need to resolve all things at all times; it is okay for there to be uncertainty in the reader. Maybe there even should be some of that; if nothing else, it leaves more room for other stories to follow.

I can still use, and remain grateful for, your financial support.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 185: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 6

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The chapter that follows, “An Independent Woman,” begins with Serilla considering the weather as Bingtown approaches winter. She muses on the changes she had seen in Bingtown while touring it the day before, grousing about her thwarted dreams and fretting about her future prospects; the Satrap remains absent, and the ministers and hangers-on who had plied him earlier remain in place in Jamaillia–in power. She seizes upon the idea of uncovering the part of the plot against him that centers in Bingtown as a means to retain and secure her own safety and stability in the wake of the depredations done to her by the Satrap and others.

I imagine something like this for the hall…
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Serilla is distracted from her reverie by the announcement of Ronica Vestrit, and Serilla muses for a time on the situation that has led to Ronica sheltering under what had been Restart’s roof. It has eased her surveillance of and control over her, but it has also left her subject to the older woman’s harangue–the which continues when Ronica enters with a ledger in hand. A tense exchange ensues, and Ronica reviews what she knows of Serilla; Serilla gets the worse of the exchange, and Ronica leaves her, considering whether to linger in a position to overhear news from Roed Caern.

Said news comes from the Rain Wilds, Serilla realizing the importance of the message before it is delivered. When she opens it, she receives the news that the Satrap has gone missing from Trehaug in the wake of the earthquake; Caern advises her to do nothing at present, and she realizes she is slipping into his power.

Ronica is unable to glean any of the news, and she returns to her chambers, where Rache continues to work. Roncia stresses to Rache that she is free to leave, owing her nothing; Rache replies that the Vestrits are the only ones who have shown her kindness in Bingtown. She also notes news, reporting to Ronica about the state of the town and identifying Sparse Kelter as a man of some interest. Ronica notes that she will continue to do what she can to ensure that Bingtown survives as itself and that her family has a place to which to return. They confer further, and Ronica has to be reminded of the current and former slave population–the Tattooed–in Bingtown in her plans. Rache explicates the distributed system among the Tattooed, which Amber had helped set up, and notes Amber’s assertion of being a prophet.

Later, Ronica reports to the Traders’ Concourse, the condition of which is detailed. She sets about cleaning and lighting the hall, following an old tradition, and she is soon joined by other Traders, who join in the same work. It has a salutary effect as Ronica reflects on Bingtown’s history, but Ronica is dismayed that the meeting waits to convene until Serilla arrives. When the Companion does, she does so ostentatiously and imperiously, and she is taken aback when the Council presents a plan upon which she had not been consulted. Citing precedent, the Council pushes a moratorium on confiscation and eviction, as well as increasing civic duty-time. Serilla tries to regain control of the situation, of her situation, and does not succeed; Grag Tenira manages to convene a panel to investigate Restart’s death.

Ronica considers Serilla and muses upon her suddenly altered situation as the Traders’ meeting proceeds and concludes. She confers with Grag as the latter offers her a ride home and affirms his belief in the Vestrits’ loyalty to Bingtown amid wry jests regarding his suit for Althea’s hand.

The chapter does offer some attention to the enslaved population in Bingtown, which is not always the case, and the reminder that Ronica evidently needs to recall them has some…uncomfortable overtones. But that’s always part of the problem, of course, that those in power or recently dispossessed of it tend to overlook or ignore those without, especially the most abject among them. Such matters are more prominent now than when the novel was released, of course, even though they were certainly present at the time, but I reread as I am now, remembering little of who I was then except that I was a little shit who thought himself far better than he was. I like to think I have improved; I hope I have, at least. And that Ronica has the decency to be ashamed of her oversight when she is reminded of it is a hopeful sign; the habits of a lifetime are not easily set aside, but they can be set aside, with attention and care–and more of us can afford to pay such a price than do.

Buy me a cup of coffee, maybe?

A Rumination on Another Roleplaying Game Character

I have written before, at least once, about my experience playing a character in an ongoing Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) campaign. I spent two games playing one particular character, thinking I was bumbling about with him, and only realizing after that others had appreciated his story immensely. That story reached an ending, although the character did not die; rather, the “interesting” part of his narrative is over, and he is off doing other things that may be important in the setting but are far less so in terms of making for interesting stories to tell. The campaign continues, however, being just about to start up again, and I have a new character for the new game.

The character in question.
CaptainBeard by alrikmerc on DeviantArt, used here for commentary.

As before, there is little of me in the character, at least as I envision him at the moment. (They change as they are played, as many players can tell you, and while it is always good to have a background in mind, it is also good to be flexible; characters’ voices surprise us at times.) I am, as I have noted elsewhere, a staid and stolid person, even if I am less flabby now than then, and my character is and has been an adventurer in, not quite the D&D sense of the term, but not far off from it. He is a more commanding, imposing figure than I, by far, and far less intellectually inclined. (Whether he’s more capable or not, I am not sure; I didn’t exactly cover myself with glory in that line, after all.)

Too, he has underlying goals and overt goals, and while I have a few of the latter, I do not have the former in quite so much supply, anymore. I used to, of course; when I was pursuing the doctorate, it was a goal, and it was a goal in service to the goal of securing a continuing-line academic position. Anymore, though, I do not have the sense of direction that my character does–with more and less figuration; he does have the (perhaps informed) attribute of always knowing which way is north. I am not looking to use the character to suss out goals of my own; I have other venues in which to do so. But having the character have some such reminds me that I am not as firm in my own as I feel I probably ought to be (and whether that feeling is a good one or not can be argued, of course, perhaps even usefully).

I suppose that’s another of the useful things in the collaborative, extemporaneous, rules-assisted storytelling Mackay describes RPGs as being; not only are they escapist, with the values therein, but they are also revelatory, since what emerges in the character has to come from somewhere, something that the person animating the character has taken in along the way. And that allows more agency over ourselves for those of us who play such games and pay attention.

I don’t suppose you’d like to send me some support, would you?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 184: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 5

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Paragon and Piracy,” opens with Althea tending Clef, who has been on the receiving end of Lavoy’s anger. Althea tries to remain outside the conflict, but she muses on its circumstances and the near-confrontation between the first mate and Amber about the incident. After Clef is finished and heads off to his rack, Althea muses on her situation and her thoughts about her family’s. When, still musing, she speaks with the ship, she is surprised to hear the figurehead speak eagerly of confronting Kennit. It disquiets her somewhat, and she is soon joined at the railing by Amber, with whom she confers about Clef and Lavoy. Althea notes that Amber seems unwell, and the carpenter notes it is an occasional, non-contagious malady; Althea directs her to inform Brashen, which prompts consideration and conversation of the Paragon‘s captain.

Elo Hold On Tight GIF - Elo HoldOnTight ElectricLightOrchestra GIFs
Like the song says…
Image from Tenor.com, used for commentary.

The talk is interrupted by Jek’s arrival at the railing with the other two women; Althea considers her and her freedom briefly before talk returns to Brashen by way of the rarity of people fulfilling and enjoying their dreams. Some good-natured teasing of Althea ensues, although it does not necessarily all land well. Amber gently rebukes Jek for pushing the jokes farther than they ought to go, and Lavoy interrupts the conversation with a summons from the captain for Althea. Althea tries to defuse the tension between Amber and Lavoy before she reports, but she is unsuccessful.

Althea considers the ship and the captain as she reports, and Brashen confers with her regarding ideas Lavoy has put across to him, seeking to verify them before pursuing them. Between them, they suss out Lavoy’s biases, that his advanced plan to play at piracy as a means to get close to Kennit to attack him and forcibly retake the Vivacia is a ruse for him to take the Paragon for his own. The two confer about the likelihood of violence, Althea considering her lack of experience in that regard, and Lavoy arriving to report Amber unconscious on the foredeck interrupts them; Althea hastens off in worry to see to the carpenter.

As I reread the chapter, I found myself taken by the comments about how few people are able to live out their dreams, and how few of those find that their dreams are what they wanted them to be. I know I am being an affective reader again to think on it in the terms I do, but I cannot help but consider my own abortive dreams once again, my having wanted to be first a band director, then an English teacher, then an English professor, and succeeding at achieving and retaining exactly none of those positions. I was unable to achieve them, and I found and continue to find–because I remain in contact with a number of people in the field, not only because I continue to do such occasional bits of scholarship as this and continue to participate in the Tales after Tolkien Society–that the life of the mind that I had thought to follow is not at all what I had thought it would be. I know I am better off where I am now, but I continue to have trouble adjusting to life outside the ivory tower, despite never really having done well in it; I do not know that I will ever be free of the folly.

Can you spare a bit for me?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 183: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 4

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The following chapter, “Tintaglia’s Flight,” opens with the titular dragon on the wing, hunting and exulting in her own importance and beauty. She kills a doe and eats it greedily, exulting in the sensation of it, before recalling the nagging feeling of debt to the puny humans that freed her; she returns to the air to begin to discharge it.

The Tawny Man Book 3: Fool's Fate - Tintaglia
The titular dragon…
Source in the image, used for commentary.

Selden huddles against Reyn, who considers their ongoing dilemma. He resigns himself to death before Tintaglia returns, taking the two up as they marvel at her, and she flies them to Trehaug. There is tumult in the city as the dragon descends into it, depositing Reyn and Selden upon the ground; Keffria runs to her son’s side, assuring herself of his safety, and calls for Malta. Tintaglia affirms that Malta lives and makes to depart in annoyance; Reyn bids her by her name help Malta. She reluctantly agrees, but she cites the wrongs done her kind by the Khuprus family as she takes him aloft in haste and power. They spot Malta, who remains in a boat on the caustic Rain Wild River, and the dragon rebukes Reyn for his presumption as she takes him back to Trehaug to see to her rescue. Jani tends to her son after the dragon leaves and he calls for the liveship Kendry to be put to sail in search of Malta; some take heart that the Satrap yet lives, and Reyn bids himself be taken aboard the liveship to join in the rescue.

The chapter is a brief one, serving as more of a bridge than as a discreet narrative chunk; it seems meant to bring characters where they need to be rather than to develop them or to unfold more of the story, as such. With one exception: Reyn notes a peculiar extravagance in Selden’s speech as he speaks of and to Tintaglia, words that read to me as not apt to come from the mouth of even a precocious child. (I have one such, after all, and she is fierce, indeed, but I doubt she would be quite so sanguine faced with a dragon in the flesh. Not that I would, either.) From the perspective of a reread, I can say that it is foreshadowing; what it foreshadows will, of course, have to wait until I get to that point in the rereading–assuming, of course, that I remember to note it. I am not so young or deft of mind as I used to be, and things crowd against one another and show each other out of my too-swollen head anymore…

Can you spare some change?

At the Workplace

The broncos held next door
Tended by unexpected physicians
Whose hands are stained
Roar as they are goaded
Thundering not with their hooves but
With the exhalations of what they drink
And we who listen as those who seek us
Wrestle with those spirits by which they are haunted
And defilement of the temples given into their care
Must hear instead the burgeoning stampedes
Rather than the songs they seek to sing
Whose voices have often been drowned out
Choked off for smoke and stranger dusts
Or sleeps enforced upon them

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Your support is kindly appreciated.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 182: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 3

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

A chapter titled “Wintrow” comes next, and it opens with the Vivacia considering the departure from Others’ Island and calling for a healer for Wintrow. Kennit does what he can to allay the liveship’s fears for the Vestrit youth, but it is not much; the ship speaks to an absence of Wintrow’s psychic presence within her, one that gives her cause to fear. Kennit attempts to insinuate himself further with the ship, but the Vivacia rebuffs him, if gently. He withdraws, and as he does, the charm on his wrist mocks him, and he ponders matters as he makes for Wintrow’s cabin.

Photo by M.Y. Kemiktv Youtube on Pexels.com

Within, Etta tends to the unconscious, injured Wintrow, detailing the harm done him and girding herself against the feared pain of his death. And not only for herself; she muses on what Wintrow’s death would do to Kennit. She voices her concerns to the unconscious boy and is startled by Kennit’s entry. After a brief discussion, he orders that Wintrow be taken to the foredeck.

Within himself, Wintrow finds himself conferring with the psychic echoes of the dragon that the Vivacia should have been. It is beginning to reassert itself through the layers of the persona that have been forced upon it, unknowingly, by the Vestrits. He is jolted by being moved, and the underlying dragon begins to force him back to health and wakefulness.

Kennit watches as Wintrow is brought on deck, and he assesses the youth’s condition; he looks like to die. He calls to the youth and bids Etta begin to tend him again. Within himself, Wintrow begins to act to repair his body and speed it along. He returns to consciousness, and Kennit takes the credit for redeeming him from death.

Following the Vivacia, She Who Remembers reaches out to the ship, hoping for a response. She receives none, though she is sure she is heard.

In the second section of the chapter, Etta, musing on Kennit’s exaltation and success in forging a cohesive polity in the Pirate Isles, wonders “What kind of a man harbored such dreams, let alone brought them to fruit?” As I read the novel again–and, truly, it has been a while since I last cracked it open; I think it was in advance of a paper I wrote for Kalamazoo some years back–it occurs to me that depictions of Kennit do work as an answer to that question. What kind of person dreams of building a kingdom for themself and actually goes about doing it? Not a good one, seems to be the answer, despite the legends that creep up and stories that are told in later years. What readings I have done about real-life foundational figures suggest that so much is true, at least, and even in myth and legend, Utopian founders are hardly saints; Malory’s Arthur, for example, mimics the Scriptural Herod in ordering the deaths of babies–and, more, to kill his own (incest-born) child. So much for the Once and Future King–and so much for the Pirate King.

There are, of course, other readings to perform. I know it well; I’ve done a few of them, after all. It would be easy, particularly given the discourse in the present chapter, to read the Liveship Traders novels as commentary on the legacies of (colonialist) oppression, how even those ignorant of historical wrongs benefit from their perpetration. Wintrow, after all, had not known how the liveships came to be, although his family fortune and (admittedly formerly) privileged position are entangled in such a ship; he benefits from the fruits of trees fertilized by shitty deeds and worse. And the parallels to the readers’ world invite consideration that more would benefit from conducting.

Care to send a bit of help my way?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 181: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 2

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Traders and Traitors,” begins with Ronica hiding and observing a hooded figure approach her door, her home having been ransacked by Chalcedeans and Bingtowners alike. She rehearses the events leading up to her present from her last appearance: the upset after the Summer Ball, her flight, fighting in the town and in the harbor. Following the fracas, in the brief interval in which Bingtown was free, she had made to flee with Rache for her old family farm, pausing only briefly to pay feeble respects to the slain Restart. Meanwhile, civil unrest had broken out, and neighbors had turned on one another in short order, even harassing Ronica and Rache as they fled. The depredations she saw along the way persuaded Ronica to return to her home, Rache accompanying her, and the two had settled in and hunkered down in an outbuilding, holding up as best they could.

Doja Cat - Boss B*tch (from Birds of Prey: The Album) [Official Music Video]
Image from Atlantic Records, here, used for commentary.

The hooded figure is revealed to be Cerwin Trell when Ronica confronts him. He reports on public perception of the Vestrits, that they had turned traitors to Bingtown along with Restart, and he notes his own father’s increasing anger at the Vestrit family. Ronica notes that Malta had escaped Bingtown, and Cerwin reports on the current state of the city. It is still free, although supplies are running low, and there is still violence in the streets at night. Old and New Traders are at odds, with others caught between them, and no negotiations are ongoing. Ronica reassures him that his work to remain outside the fray is wise, and she asks if she would be well served to meet with Serilla, who is still working as the Satrap’s representative; Cerwin has no good answer. As he leaves, Ronica takes stock of her ruined home and moves forward.

In Restart’s home, Serilla is disturbed in her ruminations by Ronica’s arrival; she tries to put the older woman off as she rehearses her own tenuous situation, but can only delay for a short time. She realizes that a conspiracy against the Satrap had long been in place and that the rash actions of Bingtown Traders had hindered but not completely overturned it, but she is not ready for Ronica to confront her with her demands for adherence to local statute and protocol. When she calls for aid from other Traders, she finds them stymied in large part by the force of Ronica’s personality; she rebukes one of the Traders for Davad’s death, which he does not deny. Nor yet are her accusations regarding the injuries to her family denied, even as she argues against Serilla’s authority. At length, she makes her exit, and the other Traders take council from Serilla regarding how they will proceed. One of them, Roed Caern, is asked to return later; Serilla will send him after the Vestrits.

The present chapter includes quite a bit of explication, which makes sense for the early part of a novel–and more so given the relative gap in time between the presented characters’ previous appearances and the present ones. Put simply, there is a lot of catching up to do, as would be the case were the characters people being encountered again after several busy weeks away. (One of the few advantages of spreading a re-reading out as I am doing with this one is that it affords time between entries; reading serially is a different experience than reading in single sittings, as I well know and as I expect many of my readers–if you are many, as I hope you are–also know. The time offers greater similarity between the readers’ experience and the characters’, which, even if it is part of an affective reading, does help with immersion and verisimilitude. So there’s that.)

I am again put in mind of various independence movements in North America (the continent for reasons), where colonies rebel against colonial powers at some cost to themselves–and with no small amount of fractiousness within themselves, as well. Bingtown had not been a unified community leading up to the tumult at the Summer Ball, and the tension within it was bound to increase with the events of that evening–not only because it makes narrative sense that they do so, but also because people tend to exploit outside stresses to act in their own interests. Prevailing upset allows opportunity for realignment, after all, and why wouldn’t someone–especially someone heavily invested in a mercantile, transactional socioeconomic situation–take the chance to avail themselves of it?

If you like what I’m doing, can you spare a bit to help me keep doing it?

A Rumination on Some Exercises

It is not exactly a secret that I spent more than a decade teaching, that I thought for many years that I would make a career of being at the front of a classroom, helping students at one level or another learn how to do things that they might not enjoy quite at the moment, but that would help them later on–and that they might well come to enjoy, even if they did not do so in the moment. I spent a lot of time learning how to do that very thing (although not enough, clearly, else I’d be doing it now instead of working the job I have–but that’s probably for the better), and, as part of that learning, I got to do a number of the exercises I would later ask my students to do. It’s a good thing, truly; it’s hard for a person to guide someone else through something they’ve not yet done, after all, and I did try to make a practice in my teaching years of doing the assignments I asked my students to do–or something very much like them (adjusting, of course, so that they would not have the work done for them; they’d not learn anything if it were simply handed to them). I may have gotten a lot of things wrong in the classroom–I know I did–but I got that done right, at least.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That said, I did not always find the assignments congenial–and, often enough, I was not in a position to simply select other exercises, being bound by my always-contingent positions to adhere to prescribed sequences of assignments. Since I still write, sometimes even for money, I still run into exercises that are not necessarily to my taste or liking; I still have to do writing that I find difficult, whether because I am not in a good headspace to do that work at that time, or because the work, however remunerative, is somehow otherwise objectionable to me. And sometimes, I have had exercises that I thought were good ones that ended up being…otherwise. The last, I try not to discuss more than to note that they have happened; it does me no good to dwell on the details more than I already have, and I can assure those readers who grace me with their eyes that I have rebuked myself thoroughly, at length, and in detail about my many failures. The first, I can address with another cup or pot of coffee and a shift in music, or else a lapse of a day–though that day all too often stretches out further than I ever ought to let it do.

The “otherwise objectionable,” though, is thornier. I have refused jobs that were outright racist or sexist to my first reading. (Yes, there have been some execrable fucks who’ve tried to get me to write for them.) More often, though, I’ve had issues of being asked to do writing that is innocuous enough on its surface but that is profoundly uncomfortable for me. The objection is not to the scope of the work, but to my having to do it; there are things which I do not do well because I know I should not be doing them. I try to be aware of my limitations, as those who have read my Hobb Reread entries will note; I often remark that I am not adept in a particular area, despite knowing enough to note that the area is applicable. Sometimes, I am aware of the mismatch before I get started, and I can turn away before going thence; too often, I do not realize it until I am in the midst of it, and all that remains is to plow ahead as best I can and keep it in mind for the future. And maybe I can work to be more comfortable talking about some other things than I already am, too.

That might actually be nice.

I can always use more help, and I always appreciate what I receive.