Mama’s feeling better, and a list of “Bad” story stuff

Just spoke to my mother in the hospital, and she says she hasn’t slept all night–they’ve worked on her in the form of giving her the other bag of blood (she got the first two while I sat in the room yesterday) and another bag of saline (and then a shot of Lasix because the saline was giving her some CHF [congestive heart failure–which she has chronically but under control]) and all those hourly tests of blood pressure, pulse, blood sugar, and so forth. Well, that’s what happens in the hospital. I told her to try to doze off, as the shift change happens pretty soon, and she’ll have her other nurse back at 7 AM, the man who took care of her LAST time this happened. They already bonded over children in school (approved–he has three), Obama (defended a bit, scolded on other issues), how bad certain magazines are now (agreed), the cruddiness of hospital cable TV (agreed), and diabetes (excoriated all around). The doctor told this nurse that she could probably just come home this afternoon, and he’d worry about testing to see where this “leak” is in a week or so, when she’s stronger. She’s already having leg cramps, which is a sign of those blood vessels expanding again in response to a corrected blood volume.

Bless her heart. She appreciates all your good thoughts and says to thank you all. If it weren’t for all this positive energy, I know we’d have had an even more exhausting time of it. It’s exhausting to plod around the hospital and parking lot anytime, but it’s worse when the temps are 105F (110F heat index) and it’s humid. I insist we move to Alaska. I want to see Russia from my back yard.

Someone forwarded us a list of “plots we see too often that are worn out” from Strange Horizons. This kind of links in to what the workshop leader said a couple of weeks ago about “rogue AI plots,” which is indeed listed herein. I still don’t consider mine a rogue AI plot, not exactly, because they THINK that is what it is when it’s really a ghost who finally figures out how to move around without using the ‘net. But I’m still tweaking that.

Stuff Strange Horizons says to avoid, because we’ve seen it too often:

the Yay! list: (This is the first time I’ve ever seen this persistent prejudice admitted to or discussed as far as stories go):
* Fatness is used as a signal of evil, dissolution, and/or moral decay, usually with the unspoken assumption that it’s completely obvious that fat people are immoral and disgusting. (Note: This does not mean all fat characters in stories must be good guys. We’re just tired of seeing fat used as a cheap shorthand signifier of evil.)
* Someone wants to kill someone else, and that’s perfectly reasonable because, after all, the victim-to-be is fat. (!! School bullying !!)
* The story spends a lot of time describing, over and over, just how fat a character is, and how awful that is. (!! Heard it before, didn’t agree then or now, not telling YOU to change YOUR body !!)
* Physical contact with a fat person is understood to be obviously revolting. (!! Some of us are less revolting than others. And hast thou looked into the mirror lately? !!)

the Boo! list:
* Twee little fairies with wings fly around being twee. (My Splatterfairies are something like this, although I think the ironic tone comes across)
* Sentient toys, much like the ones from Toy Story, interact with each other. (I wrote one like this AGES ago, but it was more Velveteen Rabbit and I’ve never sent it out. You do realize that _Winnie-the-Pooh_ is this story. But we aren’t A. A. Milne.)

Check out their entire list. The rest of their website is interesting, too.

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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