radfrac_archive: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
One other thing.

I made the doctor's appointment weeks ago, as a person with a medium-sized list of unrelated ailments and a faint reflexive paranoia. Then I saw the physio, and turned into someone with an alarming systemic deficit and a tense physiotherapist.

The physio was supposed to call the clinic and tell my doctor what he'd noticed, but they didn't connect, so all my doctor knew was that he'd called. It was all on me. I had my list of symptoms, both those that the physio had told me about, and those I'd noticed myself.

Then, sort of by accident, something interesting happened. Instead of listing off my symptoms, I started to tell my doctor a story.

It was shorter and less gothic than the version I posted here, but had the same rough outlines. I went to the physio, I showed him where my tricep wasn't, he did some tests, he mentioned some results, he seemed to be concerned.

Instead of presenting my doctor with a worried layperson holding a list of self-diagnosed symptoms which might or might not be illusory, I told him about a worried medical professional diagnosing a patient. I imported someone else's perceived authority and objectivity into my interview.

He's a good doctor, and a good listener. I still wonder if attributing the concern and the diagnosis to another medical professional made the information easier to take seriously.

I don't think I did it on purpose, but I think it's kind of cool.

radfrac_archive: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
As I was saying ruefully to [livejournal.com profile] inlandsea last night, I see that I'm going to have to be a grownup about this.

I like to tell stories. My life is usually quiet. I think I owe the storytelling urge more adventure than I give it. My stories end up mostly being about small seasonal changes and emotional near misses, because that's what my life seems to be composed of.

So this story is happening to me right now, and I want to tell it

The part we're at right now is: I have to get a brain and spine MRI, and they're rushing it. One of those good news/bad news things.

I've always wanted to be one of those people who is stoic and brave and you only find out years later that they suffered terribly.

However, as [livejournal.com profile] lemon_pickle says: play to your strengths. The truth is, as soon as I can make a story out of something, I want to tell it. The more I tell the story, refine it, solidify it, the better I feel.

Other people, though. They're busy. They're deep in their own stories.

The two things I mean by being a grownup are: If I want someone to listen to me, I have to ask them to. And I have to accept it when they can't.

For example, I was resenting this friend of mine. He's the one who pointed out that I should see a doctor in the first place. I took his frankness as interest, and I was hurt that he hasn't called me or asked me how I am.

Never mind that he's desperately trying to pull together funding for his PhD, find steady work, deal with his own health and his own life. Clearly, upon hearing that I had to see a neurologist, he ought to have driven directly to my house, given me a big hug, and declared (he's a declarer): Everything's going to be fine.

Yet he seems unaware of this sensible course of action.

I'm exactly the same way. I don't know my part in the script of his pain any more than he knows his in mine. I can't always give someone what they want, or even tell them clearly that I can't give it. I'm afraid to ask about hard things. I'm afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Or I'm tired. Or I'm lazy.

So. It occurs to me that this LiveJournal is just about right.

I might be boring, but I don't have to worry that I'm boring. No one is being held captive by politeness or guilt. I don't have to know that they'd really rather be watching Torchwood (as indeed would I). If you'd rather watch Torchwood, you can. Your attention can drift off mid-sentence and you won't hurt my feelings. You can skip the dull bits, or ignore the entire narrative. I'll never know the difference. I'll get to tell the story. That will make me feel better.


So me, I want miles and miles of attention and adoration and comfort and praise. And presents. And giraffes.

In lieu of that, I admit I would not mind the occasional hug.

radfrac_archive: (Ben Butley)
Long time since I could sit down to post properly.

I am reading H.P. Lovecraft criticism for fictional reasons. I hadn't before encountered Fritz Leiber's wonderfully lucid explication of the science-fictional aspects of Lovecraft's horror. These have puzzled me, since, as a product of my era's mythology, I grew up thinking of the vastness of space as a mostly benign Star-Trekkian frontier.

That reminds me.
Digression for Star Trek dream. )
He... firmly attached the emotion of spectral dread to such concepts as outer space, the rim of the cosmos, alien beings, unsuspected dimensons, and the conceivable universes lying outside our own space-time continuum. [Leiber, p.51]

Can you think of other writers who did this particular thing, talked about the horror of space, rather than falling into what I will spontaneously dub the pseudo-western or pseudo-naval subgenres? Rather than the model of frontier / air/sea warfare / some combination of the two -- others who wrote about the weight of emptiness, so to speak?

So I'm writing, and talking about it doesn't seem to be ruining it. I'm writing with great joy and excitement, and I think this is the most whole story I have ever written. The story is connected, sort of, to Lovecraft, though not to the horror of space -- more to the corporeal horror of "The Thing on the Doorstep."

A digression still involving Lovecraft, but pulling in Neil Gaiman and other recent reading, to return eventually to a point about what I mean by 'most whole story'. )
This story has a wholeness of action that I haven't accomplished before. Still, the pivotal point seemed flat, like old ghost stories that can't frighten you because you know their tropes too well.

The excellent Z. came over the other night, and I screwed up my courage to ask for her opinion. I described my plot as it stood, and I said, "I just can't help feeling it should be more horrible. It's supposed to be uncanny, but the climax feels both correct and insufficient. It fits the genre and the action, but it's not awful enough. Does there need to be a tentacled creature appearing from the corpse or something? That seems like bringing in too many elements."

[N.B. I was somewhat drunk and not nearly this articulate.]

"Well, what if x?" she said.

"I thought of x," I said, "But it didn't seem quite... although... if x happened this way... Hey now."

She smiled. And that was all it took to solve my dilemma -- courage, and one extremely clever friend.

I think that's the first time I've ever asked for help thinking through a plot. Historically, I hoard the story to my chest, crooning over it, even watching it die for lack of nourishment, because I'm afraid it will wither if anyone sees it.

I'm hoping to finish it this weekend, at least to complete draft stage. And then...

radfrac_archive: (Default)
In fact I am not talking about the election, although: relief. Pleasure. Vague glimmerings of something like is it no it can't be well it might be Hope. O Pandora.

I mean that my First Poll results are in. The Samhain ritual will be the Next Story Told.

...After I get back from Tacoma.



radfrac_archive: (Default)

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