October 21, 2016
I’ve been taking yoga classes regularly for almost two years now. A big part of yoga is breathing. Focusing on breathing, on filling your lungs and emptying them out in ways we don’t normally in everyday life. Moving and breathing at the same time, calmly, in a way that is both energizing and relaxing. It’s good stuff.
This week, I went in for a practice scuba session at the dive shop, in preparation for my dive trip next month. And I realized that scuba focuses on breathing even more than yoga does. Taking yoga has actually made me a better scuba diver, in terms of controlling breath and breathing calmly. I think I’ve cut my air usage by a third since taking yoga. Using less air means more time under water!
But it’s more than that, because in yoga I still struggle with keeping my attention focused. Not letting my thoughts drift off to the to do list or whether I love or hate the background music or trying to remember when was the last time I washed my mat.
But you know what turns out to be very focusing? That whole, “Yeah, if I don’t breathe correctly using this mechanical device, I’ll die” thing. Very focusing, that. And oddly relaxing. Even sitting at the bottom of a twelve-foot pool, listening to bubbles tumble out of the regulator, making sure my breaths stay slow — slow breath in, slow breath out — I think that’s about the most zen I’ve ever been.
It’s even better in open water. One month, I’ll be there.
October 19, 2016
October 7, 2016
I’m not talking about fears like paying the bills or what will happen if Trump wins the election (no no no no no no no no no). I’m talking irrational, gut-roiling, never-leave-you fears. Stupid primal lizard fears. Here are some of mine.
Falling. This only started a few years ago, and it’s really sporadic. I have no problems with natural drops, ladders, driving on mountain roads — anything where I’m in control. But give me a sharp edge and a long drop, and I get really uncomfortable. Like the interior balconies at various DragonCon hotels. I think, “I could just go over the edge. I could just do it.” And then I kind of want to. No no no no. I stay away from sharp edges and long drops.
Accidental guillotining. Strangely enough, I’ve encountered this in a couple of movies/TV shows now, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and The Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec. And I can’t get it out of my head. How awful. How truly horrible. I mean, how does that even happen? And that sound. The swish and thunk. Just no. I will be staying away from guillotines forever.
Mount Everest. Ah. This one. This really is Death Mountain. The Everest movie that came out last year was on TV a couple weeks ago and I tried watching it, and there’s a long expository lump where the cute doctor tells everyone all the horrible physiological things that can happen to them, against a backdrop of climbers hacking up gouts of blood because of pulmonary edema, and I had to turn it off. I just didn’t want to see that. Frozen bodies used as landmarks, extremities lost to skin-blackening frostbite, avalanches, horrorshow all around. The thing is, there’s really no reason for people to be there, putting themselves through that, but ambition and hubris. Seriously, no reason at all to be hacking up gouts of blood. But there you go. Hundreds of people do it every year.
Of all my irrational fears, this is the one I’m drawn to rather than repelled by. I keep reading about Everest. I watch shows about it. The horror of it — climbers at the edge of death making satellite phone calls to loved ones because they know they’re not going to make it, yikes — is fascinating. And you know what else? I kind of want to go. Not to climb the mountain, god no, I’m not a mountain climber and I would so so die. But I kind of want to go to Base Camp. Just to see. Just to encounter up close some of that crazy death-facing energy.
I could do it. Plenty of trekking expeditions go to Base Camp and no further. It would still be rough — Base Camp is at 17,000 ft elevation. But Colorado is an ideal location for training. I’m functional and comfortable at 10,000 ft (my average mountain trip around here). I have hiking opportunities at 12,000 feet, and can get to 14,000 feet with preparation and planning. Spend a year doing that, get my red blood cell count up, my stamina up.
I could do it. I kind of want to. Just to see that mountain for myself.
September 5, 2016
I spent the weekend camping (SCA event), and so am spending another Monday catching up on sleep, doing laundry, and staving off a cold. All this traveling, and I’ve managed to not come down with con crud or camping crud or anything. Let’s see if I can keep healthy!
Things that happened:
- Saw the biggest spider that wasn’t a tarantula I’ve ever seen, and I would have been fascinated — if it had not been in my tent, inches from my bed. I managed to get it outside without killing either of us.
- I learned to make lampworked beads. Not sure this is something I’ll add to my list of hobbies, but it’s nice to work on getting over my fear of Crafts Involving Fire. (Long story, there.)
In other news:
- The September issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction has my story “The Mind is Its Own Place.” This story has a lot of history to it — I wrote the first version maybe 12 years ago? 15? I sent it out and it never sold. Well, last year I pulled it out again — and knew how to fix it. So I did. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to have proof that I’m clearly a better writer than I was 15 years ago.
- Hex Publishers’ online zine WORDS has reprinted my story “Letter From Nancy.”
And now, I think I need to get some groceries so I can actually eat. Until the next trip, in just two week. Yikes!
August 29, 2016
I wrote a play. A short play, about 15 minutes or so, called “Simulation.” The theater department at Linfield College in McMinneville, OR, where my brother works as TD will be staging it in a few weeks, Sept 22-24.
It’s so exciting because Rob and I did a bunch of theater together in high school (I have a picture of us somewhere in South Pacific — he was a singing dancing sailor and I was a singing dancing nurse), and we’ve talked for years about working on a show together that I would write. And now it’s happening, at least on a small scale. Maybe the start of something bigger? Hmmm….
I’m planning on being there for the performances. If you’re in the area — you’re invited, too! For more information check out the Linfield Theater Dept. website.
August 12, 2016
That’s a lie. I will never catch up. Those last few emails will never get answered.
On the plus side, my Ghostbusters review went live on Lightspeed. I went the historical context route this time.
My travels to Pennsic were good. Driving across the midwest on I-80 is challenging. I have a five day turn around before I leave for Worldcon, and too much to do. So of course revision notes on Bannerless and galley corrections for Martian Abroad landed this week. Huzzah!
I’ll post my schedule next week. It’s gonna be hella busy.
Meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite things from Pennsic:
I danced with them for two of the days.