Pocket Full of Words: Holly Lisle’s Blog

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One cheer for equal rights to marry
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The right to be together legally

The right to be together legally

I have long been a proponent for the rights of any consenting adults to marry any other consenting adults.

I think my uncle would have lived longer had he been born in an era where being gay was not a crime. I think my aunt would have been happier had she and the woman she loved been able to be together as an acknowledged, legally accepted married couple.

And bluntly, I think that for any two people who make a lifetime commitment to each other, their rights to share benefits of Social Security*, Medicare/Medicaid*, inheritance, and to make end-of-life decisions to each other should never have been questioned.

WITH THAT SAID…

I think government involvement in ‘legitimizing’ marriage at any level of government is bullshit. I think the right of any consenting adult to marry any other consenting adult (or any consenting adults to marry any other consenting adults) is and should be a matter of personal contract. And I think that neither local, nor state, nor national governments should have a say in it.

Marriage is a contract. State governments define who is a legal adult capable of entering into a contract. Once they have set that limit, their job (other than enforcing the terms of the contract in the case of disputes) should be done.

Legal adults of any sexual orientation should then be able to make their contracts with each other and live lives protected by the laws of their state.

We needed to get there, and we should have been there from the very beginning.

But having the Supreme Court do a legislative fandango with the Constitution to make this happen was not the right way to get there, and because of the squishiness of the decision, a lot of bad shit is likely to be the fallout of this one good thing.


* I think government entitlement programs are corrupt, and I think they should be eliminated—but while everyone who works is being taxed for them, everyone who receives them should be treated identically—and if there are specific benefits that are tied being married in the eyes of the government, those benefits should be available to all committed couples.

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Links between cancer, stress, and overwork: why I’m cutting my hours
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Too much to do

Too much to do

I’m here to tell you that there is no medical journal article currently available on the long-term physical effects of writers working ten-to-seventeen-hour days seven days a week for for stretches of up to seven months. (Either with or without a healthy diet and exercise.)

However, there is a breadcrumb trail I’m following:

Crumb one: The cellular changes in my tongue arose because of a decreased immune response to mutations.

Crumb two: I am clear of internal (viral) agents that cause decreased immune response.

Crumb three: There is a strongly correlative link between external factors, such as grief, anxiety, or exhaustion, and immunosuppression.

Following those breadcrumbs, then, and doing a ton of searching for details, I have come to the conclusion that there is enough evidence to suggest the following two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Working stupid-long hours every day and living in a constant state of stress because I am constantly missing self-imposed deadlines could be the cause of the dysplasic changes in my tongue cells.

Hypothesis 2: Continuing with my current schedule and working habits has a higher than acceptable chance of creating an environment susceptible to dysplasic recurrences even after the clean removal of the existing lesion, or even the occurrence of cancer.

In plain English, I’ve been working too hard for too long. While the science (referenced below) is not in agreement, and there are sources that state there is no relationship between cancer and stress, I come from a family with non-existent cancer history (hell on wheels for alcoholism, diabetes, obesity and stroke, though). I have no personal risk factors for cancer other than stress. And I developed a condition that is known to lead to cancer.

Plan of action:

After you develop your hypothesis, the next step is to formulate your plan of action.

Mine is as follows:

  • Work a maximum of six hours a day and a maximum of five days a week (the standard eight-hour workday includes mandatory breaks, killing time doing non-work tasks, and generally includes much less work than the eight paid hours) My six hours is six hours of straight work, just as my seventeen hours was seventeen hours of straight work.
  • Focus on doing the work that only I can do: creating my nonfiction courses and writing my fiction
  • Eliminate website work completely.
  • Move to a secondary role in the Help Desk, and eventually move out of that entirely
  • Move all blogging and newsletter activities into OneStep, so that I can accomplish these WHILE creating my fiction and nonfiction.
  • Beat my great-grandmother’s 103 years of alert, cognizant, functional life, but skip the soap operas in favor of creating cool stuff.

The actual putting of this into action starts with keeping my promise of six hours a day. A timer is going to be running from now on. I’ll pause it for food and bathroom breaks, but when it hits six, I’ll save my work and close the office.

Checking the outcome will be the work of the rest of my life.

My references (all sources open in new tabs):

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The good news is, it’s not cancer.
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It's not cancer

It’s not cancer

I had an odd white spot on the underside of my tongue. I’ve never smoked (not even a single inhalation from a single cigarette), I can count on two hands the number of alcoholic drinks I’ve had, and on two fingers the number I’ve actually finished.

But I’m fifty-four and female, which increases my risk of oral cancer from just the ever-freakin’-fun of getting older.

So I took my little tongue spot and went to the dentist and had a cancer screening. That was negative, but was also surface only—and the tech doing the screening couldn’t scrape the little film of white skin off of my tongue, which turns out to be a big deal.

Big, as in, they called a maxillary surgeon while I was standing there and made an appointment for me for right then.

I was, back in the day, an ER nurse. There are signs that tell you things are not happy. A smiling nurse moving you to the front of the line in a crowded ER waiting room and saying, “The doctor is going to see you next” is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of Bad Signs.

I knew that face, because I’ve made that face.

So Matt, the kid, and I drove down the road a bit, signed into the maxillofacial surgeon’s office, waited for the room to open up, and the doctor did a biopsy under local.

I am not an easy patient. I have to know things, and I have to know what things MIGHT be as much as what they are.

So I talked the doctor into giving me his differential, which was verrucous leukoplakia vs. proliferative verrucous leukoplakia. Define these as “very bad” vs. “fucking nightmare.”

I waited out the week, doing massive research into both. Read the medical abstracts, learned the vocabulary, dug into causation and tests and treatment and outcome and stuff I could do to improve my odds no matter what the diagnosis was, as well as steps I would have to take if the diagnosis of “fucking nightmare with a twist of we-found-this-too-late” came back.

The biopsy came back. It’s neither verrucous leukoplakia nor proliferative verrucous leukoplakia. And it’s not cancer, but it’s not friendly, either. Ignored, it could become cancer. I’ve chosen not to ignore it and play Russian roulette with my future.

So I have to go back in three weeks to have the entire area excised to clear margins.

After that, I should be fine—but regular checkups and any necessary follow-up will become a part of my routine.

What I’ll be doing in three weeks:

I’ll be awake. Again. This will be done locally again.

I’ll get to watch them work (which is something I actually like—though there are disconcerting moments when a bit of your tongue goes floating past your field of vision at the end of a pair of forceps and you think Eep!).

I have learned that while the tongue heals quickly, the pain once the anesthesia wore off actually topped out giving birth to a 7-lb 13-oz kid without so much as a Tylenol in my system at the age of 37.

Please note that four hours of hard labor is no picnic. Giving birth after twelve years of NOT giving birth is much more of not a picnic. (Just in case anyone told you it was, you know.)

And this time, the little incision will be a bigger incision, the small area of pain will be a bigger area of pain—so this time, when the nurse asks me if I’d like to have a small scrip for something to help with the first couple of days, I will NOT breezily say, “No thankth, I’ll just tough thith out with Tylenol.”

You’re laughing. YOU try talking around six stitches in your tongue and anesthesia and sounding remotely like yourself. πŸ˜‰

Why I didn’t just give this a quick “I’m fine” and move on.

The little white patch under my tongue just looked like the white skin you get on the inside of your cheek after you accidentally bite down on it while chewing. You take a fingernail, you scrape off the white tissue, and you go on your way.

I couldn’t imagine what I’d done to the underside of my tongue. TRY biting that.

So I tried the same thing with the patch under my tongue that I would have tried with a cheek bite. Dragged a fingernail over it lightly to remove the gunk. It didn’t scrape off. I got out a toothbrush and scrubbed at it. No change.

Furthermore, it felt a little like the aftermath of drinking tea that’s too hot, or getting a bite of pizza with nuclear cheese.

I found it the Friday before last. It could have only been there a day or two. How do I know this?

I’m religious about brushing and flossing, and I use a dental pick to remove plaque two or three times a week. I found this when I was doing that. It wasn’t there the last time I’d done a full cleaning, just a few days earlier.

But here’s the BIG DEAL, and how it matters to you.

Most of the time, little lesions like the one I found are painless. And they really, truly, don’t look like anything that matters (at least not when you catch one just a couple days after it appears).

They can appear on the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tongue—if it’s soft tissue and it’s in your mouth, it’s fair game.

So if you look inside your mouth, find a little patch of white skin that looks like not much of anything, and doesn’t hurt—but you can’t scrape it off by lightly dragging a fingernail over it, or clear it away with your toothbrush—you need to see a dentist right away.

If you’ve ever smoked or used smokeless tobacco regularly, or drank alcohol regularly, or been a female in your fifties, that goes triple.

Doing this could save your life.

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Medical Time-Out
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Medical Time-Out

Medical Time-Out

With my deepest apologies to everyone who is waiting for me to produce various lessons, stories, and training, I am in the middle of a medical situation, and am going to be absolutely unavailable until at least next Monday (June 22).

I may need to be offline longer than that.

Dan is covering the help desk for me until I can get back.

This is unlikely to be time where I’ll be getting any productive work done, so everything just got delayed.

I’ll update you when I am once again online.

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Apple is Fighting for YOUR Right to Privacy
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Apple is fighting for your privacy.

Apple is fighting for your privacy.

I bitch about Apple being a pain in the ass for not keeping old document formats for me on new systems. I don’t like the Apple store’s “Walled Garden” approach. And I think the newest iPhones are so ugly and crippled that I got a Samsung instead. I disagree rabidly with their “free tech to people in crappy countries” program—which is sending iPads and things like them to countries that don’t have the infrastructure to support them.

But Apple was my first-EVER experience with technology that just worked. Mostly, it still “just works.”

I still buy Apple. I still use Apple products. And when Apple gets something right, dammit, I want to say so, and say it loudly.

Apple is fighting for your right to privacy. For your freedom. Not Google. Not Facebook. Not just about everyone else.

Apple is right about individual privacy on the internet.

You will have the choice to make your life better if you read the link above.

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My Hobbit Mural
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The Hobbit, 1979, crappy paint on cinderblock, Holly Lisle

The Hobbit, 1979, crappy paint on cinderblock, Holly Lisle

Click each image to see it much larger.

This is the other remaining mural of the three I did in this classroom: The Hobbit, which I pitched to Mr. Rose as real literature that should be worth the same 50 points other Big Fat Books earned when you read them—and I won my argument. And then he let me paint a picture from the book on his wall, otherwise decorated with things like Beowulf, and the witches from Macbeth. (both pictured below)

Taking an artsy tone here: In this picture, you’ll notice that the artist’s compositional skills had improved marginally, as had her use of the medium of crappy paint on cinderblock. Also notable in this painting is the use of the block signature in the right hand corner in its original state, still lacking the surrounding chop block and without the year the painting was done incorporated into those surrounding lines.

End artsy tone.
I did this standing on an aluminum ladder with my head sometimes bumping the ceiling. And people say Michelangelo had it hard. πŸ˜‰

So here are the other pictures. I’m sorry that I don’t know who painted them. They were already on the walls when I started my junior year and got Mr. Rose—one of the most fortunate formative events in my young life, getting Mr. Kerr for science the same year being the other. I had these two great men as teachers for both my junior and senior years, and with them, Doc Stok (Mr. Stockdale) for chemistry.

A lightly aged versision of Mr. Rose's classroom, 1970s to 2015

A lightly aged versision of Mr. Rose’s classroom, 1970s to 2015

Beowulf, artist not known by me, from pre-1977.

Beowulf, artist not known by me, from pre-1977.

Macbeth mural, Mr. Rose's classroom, pre-1977, Beaver Local High School.

Macbeth mural, Mr. Rose’s classroom, pre-1977, Beaver Local High School.

Finally and belatedly, huge thanks to Jean Schara, graduate of BLHS in 1978 (not the great and awesome 1979) for providing me with these pictures. I would have had no record of these painting I did when I was—I have now realized—seventeen and eighteen years old, had she not taken these and then passed them on to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s the day: Live marketing chat for writers—1PM EDT
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If you haven’t registered and want to participate (I’ll take some live questions after the presentation part), sign up here:

http://app.webinarjam.net/register/4436/e963ecd928

If you already have registered, and didn’t receive your reminder, I’m sending out reminders to my HowToThinkSideways.com members (if you’re not on it, you can still sign up here) as the next thing on my list this morning. The reminder will have the link that will take you directly into the chat, to solve the problem some folks have been having with getting in.

The topics today:

However, we will be discussing:
PUBLISHING 2

  • Writing versus Marketing
  • Indie Publishing vs. Commercial Publishing
  • Insider Look at Commercial Publishing
    • When to Go to War to Save Your Book
  • Contests and Competitions

And I have a neat handout. πŸ˜€

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Wanna buy a wall? Last look at a mural I painted in 1977-1978
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Holly Lisle: Beaver Local High School Mural

Holly Lisle: Beaver Local High School Mural — Click for big image

So my friend Jean lets me know that Beaver Local High School in Lisbon, Ohio—the high school I went to from 1976-1979, when I graduated—is about to be demolished.

And that at least one of the murals I painted in one of the classrooms there still exists, though not for much longer. She sent me a picture of the mural, which I’ve added above.

Back then, I talked her into helping me paint it during a study hall we shared. It was a big damn wall, and I was very persuasive, because painting on cinder-block was hard work.

The picture is my depiction of the Canterbury Tales. I was astonished at how much I loved Chaucer (especially the dirty stories) that I read the stories in both English and Middle English (with a LOT of help from the translation notes) that year.

My teacher, Jim Rose, asked me if I’d design and paint a mural for the wall. The picture above is what I did.

I don’t remember who all the characters are anymore, but I do remember that the four characters on the bottom row are the Miller, the Reeve, the Friar, and the Wife of Bath (my signature is on her sleeve).

Next row up, I don’t remember the dude on the left with the lute, but the woman on the right is the Prioress.

I also remember the Knight. The rest are now blanks, though if I re-read the book, I’d get them back.

The school is auctioning off everything. http://baerauctions.com/upcoming-auction/beaver-local-school-auction/

In theory at least, someone could take this awesome one-ton piece of kid art home.

Which is where the title of this post comes from. Do I think anyone will buy it? Of course not.

But it made a fun post title, and it gave me an excuse to show you something I did when I was a kid.

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Marketing Your Fiction Live Chat, Tuesday June 9, 1pm ET
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Click to Register

Click to Register

I’m trying to get ahead of this chat—I spent a couple hours working on the handouts this morning.

Marketing fiction is something that has not been done with repeatable results before, and this is something my HTTS folks know I and a handful of volunteers are experimenting with, with the end of being able to do regular successful fiction launches without big budgets or commercial backing. We are NOT going to get into launching, because that’s still in testing. I don’t have a system yet.

However, we will be discussing:
PUBLISHING 2

  • Writing versus Marketing
  • Indie Publishing vs. Commercial Publishing
  • Insider Look at Commercial Publishing
    • When to Go to War to Save Your Book
  • Contests and Competitions

So FIRST, here’s the sign-up link for this chat.

SECOND, mailing links did not go out from WebinarJam to the folks who were supposed to receive them last thim.

So a lot of folks who signed up originally, and who were supposed to be mailed automatically missed the live chat.

If you are already signed up for the chats (and if you use the link above and try to sign up, it’ll tell you whether you’re on the list already) and

if you MISSED the last live chat reminder emails, go here.

I’m going to send a notice to the HTTS Bootcamp members the day before the chat, and then one a couple hours before the chat. If you’re already on the list, or if you put yourself on the list now, you’ll get those reminders. These chats are something I’m doing for HTTS Bootcamp members. Most of the stuff I do isn’t open to the general public, but this is.

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