IOTD

Warning: not everyone is going to want to watch this video.

On August 26th the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rescue ship, the Bourbon Argos, rescued about 800 refugees from Tunisia and Syria. I chose this video, in part, because of the subject matter of the most recent story I’ve just completed. And also, because this rescue operation does not end in tragedy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the distance that separates most of us from this sort of fate is so precariously thin. I’ve spent years designing and building fault tollerant computer systems for Microsoft; take it from me when I tell you that the lifestyle you enjoy is likely one or two steps removed from a catastrophic systems failure. That’s a scary thought and most of us would rather just not entertain notions of this sort. Which is why, I believe, it’s so difficult for us to pay attention to the plight of others who must contemplate such measures.

The joy these people show at being plucked from the Meditarrianian should inspire you. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it goads you on. I hope the faces of these people compel you to examine your compassion and your own humanity. I hope you go find a way to help (even if all you do is politely ignore guys like Scott Walker and Donald der Trump). But they are happy to simply be alive, and that’s a boundless sort of elation.

The short story I’ve just completed, (working title is “Goat”) has me thinking about this sort of thing. The storm and brief power outage we just weathered this weekend and me thinking about what life is going to be like for my kids. I think that there is every reason to find out how deep our bucket of generosity is; to discover how much we can help.

IOTD

Micah True “Caballo Blanco” Running Free

“I remember this photo of Ali, running along the beach, on the sand in combat boots, so his boxing shoes would feel lighter when he was in the ring. He said something about the fight being won in the gym, out on the road, long before he danced under the lights. Ali was my Hero. He’d rather go to prison, than go to war. I always respected him for that. He was a great fighter, and a great runner.”When I was 21/22 years old, I had been smoking lots of dope, drinking lots of booze, partying hard.
I always wanted to run free. And I wanted to do something. And, I couldn’t. It was hard. My throat was bleeding. I was panting and feeling like crap, and determined I did not ever want to feel that way again. I thought I was too young to feel that way. It was one of those turning points where you either live, or you start dying. I have had a few of those every seven or eight years. I go through the same thing. So, are you going to let it go, or are you going to live?”

-Micah True

Today’s inspiration is there to help you sure, but it’s more to kick myself in the shorts. Caballo was already an old horse when I ran into him, but as far as I could see he hadn’t been dying until he went.

Last November I hurt my back lifting a goddamned box of ski boots. I’ve been to the doctor, I’ve made trips to the PT, and I’ve even tried to get back out on the trail a handful of times since then. So, between the pains of growing a little older and that injury I’ve let my narrative diminish. I’ve watered it down with excuses.

I’ve always wanted to do something and now I’m not doing. Not doing anything. I feel like I’ve slipped and when I allow myself to think about it, even a little, I feel horribly depressed which makes all the aforementioned sensations feel that much worse.

Here’s the thing. I know what I need to do, I just need to find the cojones to do it. It’s going to be hard, but I’ve been through harder and even better I’ve got examples and heroes like Caballo to show me the way.

So, here I am. At this turning point.

Thanks Micah, much gratitude for showing me the way.

IOTD

“Polar Bear in Tundra Bloom” – Dennis Fast

Today’s inspiration is very grounded. But despite being completely real, and an everyday occurrence at that, it’s all the more amazing because of its commonality. I’ll let you click through to the full story, but the summary is that a guy named Dennis Fast took some amazing images of polar bears frolicking in a bloom of arctic Chamerion angustifolium.

I love these creatures and I love that they live, eat and breath right through the harshest of winter conditions and well into the most spectacular of summer months. May they live and roam.

Not-Sasquan

UPDATE: While this remains a really cool idea which has the potential to be a lot of fun for all involved I admit that it was a very last minute function. Turns out people have lives outside their writing and this weekend seems to be booked for just about everyone. That said, we’re going to stick a pin in this and save it for later.

not-Sasquan

Jim C. Hines just posted his WorldCon 2015 schedule; it looks a lot like mine. It turns out his schedule looks a lot like a lot of people’s. My off-hand joke, “Hey, who wants to do a reading from not-Sasquan?” is getting traction in the comments section, which is no joke.

Thus, to make it official, let me propose that those of us not going to Sasquan this year hold the first ever not-Sasquan online convention. Those of you at the actual convention are invited, but we understand if you’re too busy to join us.

Authors, who is up for some reading? We could do it Friday or Saturday evening via G+. I have no experience organizing such affairs, but I know people who do. You could be one of those folks.

I should also say that in no way is this idea meant to diminish the Hugo awards. Rather, it’s an alternative way to celebrate fandom. One that should be accessible to all of us even if we’re busy, lazy, and/or mildly horrified at that shenanigans surrounding the award this year.

Finally, may I interject a suggestion. I know we could get some big names to read for us, why not ask for donations we can funnel to a charity. Personally, I’d like to invoke the name of Jay Lake and point out that he routinely did gigs for the benefit of Freedom Dogs.

IOTD

“Pinching the Bubble” – Steve Montalto

Considering what I’ve been writing about of late, this one has some special significance to me. The short story “Ser Pan Comido,” which is in copy edit with the publisher, is largely about possibility shifting across space-time with the use of the Shadow Drive and the pilots who accomplish this feat while ensconced within a timeless volume known as Pinch Space.

During my pre-writing warm up I’ve been spending a lot of time browsing DivArt lately. Sometimes I’m looking for evocative images that transport me to the places I intend to write about. Others, I need some inspiration to seed a story idea for me. Today, however, the art mirrored the idea I’ve already written. How’s that for kismet in chaos?