February 20th, 2008


More questions, answered by me.

How did you become interested in Finland?

I...don't know. It just sort of happened. We were there for about a day when I was 10, a side trip from Stockholm, and it was interesting but did not consume my thoughts for the years thereafter. Then in 2000, I read a book about Russian art, and the Fabergés and their eggs fascinated me, and I was sure there was a story but wasn't sure where it was. And then I read that two of the elder Fabergé's main assistants were Swedish Finns, and I went and bought and reread the Kalevala. I had not read it since my early teens, and I didn't remember much of it. But on the reread it stuck with me a lot more. (Part of this may be that -- to the despair of some of my poet friends, I'm sure -- I am more interested in translations that preserve the weird than translations that preserve the meter. I am particularly not interested in translations that preserve neither.)

Then Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain and some short stories and a bunch of unwritten stuff fell on my head, and I sort of had to read about Finland to make it go, and it was pretty awesome. So here we are.

(I am far more susceptible to fiction or nonfiction from places with snow anyway.)

So what *is* your list of top three languages to learn in order to read epics? And what epics?

I thought I answered this question in the comments to the post in which I made that offhand remark, but: Finnish for the Kalevala, Icelandic/Old Norse for everythingeverything, and Greek for the obvious.

I will note that, thinking realistically, this will almost certainly never happen. I am a language sponge, but I'm much more likely to pick up enough conversational Finnish to get by in Helsinki (I'm already doing it accidentally) than to actually sit down and study enough to be able to read in Finnish. Or, to compare time commitment, I'm more likely to decide to write another novel or three than to study any of those languages. It's not impossible. But I don't play the piano as often as I'd like, I don't paint as often as I'd like, I don't make as many strange concoctions in the kitchen as I'd like, and I don't see the friends and family I already have as often as I'd like. That's without adding a new linguistic pursuit.

I am carefully avoiding textile arts as a result of this. Bead stores are not at all dangerous for me: I walk into a bead store and go, "Ooooh, shiny! Someone should make me a necklace with these! and a bracelet with that! and some earrings with those! And so-and-so should have this in earrings, and x should have that!" This is very different from my reaction to yarn or, heaven help me, looms. I am assiduous in my avoidance of looms because they are just so neat, but rationally that's not where I want to put my time.

I'm not even sure I could read the Chanson de Roland in French any more; I should probably try soon if I'm going to. My French isn't getting any fresher.

Who are you? (Answer however you like)

I'm the mrissa! Who are you? Are you the mrissa, too? Then there's a pair of us! Don't tell! They'd banish us, you know.

...er. Probably not. But singing that one to the tune of the Yellow Rose of Texas doesn't work very well, so that's something, at least.

I am not in the least public like a frog. In case you were wondering.

The last two questions had specific application to the askers but seemed to be things that I should say in general:

[paraphrase to preserve anonymity] Are we ever going to hang out and have coffee or something again?

I sure hope so, Specific Asker Of This Question. It sounds like fun, and I still like you. However, my social calendar has fallen completely to bits with this vertigo nonsense. I'm not very good at being able to plan that I will be steady enough to drive on such-and-such a day and time. And while I have friends and family members who are willing to drive me places, I'm not really interested in asking them to do that for social engagements that are not their social engagements. And they might well be less happy if it was an all-the-time thing.

Also I am not as good at hosting at the moment. I can't always cook or bake, the house is not always up to my own standards, etc. We limited the numbers on timprov's birthday party to a very small group because that was about all we could handle. Less food than I've ever made for a party in my life, and fewer people. (Don't get me wrong, nobody went home hungry, and nobody sat around lonely. But what I could vertiginously cope with was a clear and strong consideration.)

Also, to be completely frank about it, I am just not as sociable as usual right now. I am pretty shaky about the start of PT today, and a lot of energy is going into dealing with the vertigo, dealing with the results of falls, or dealing with the treatment. So I'm answering this question publicly so that nobody feels like I'm ignoring them in specific. Really, it's not you. It's me. Specifically, the ear portion of me. Which we are hoping to at least partially fix.

What can I do for you?

Take care of yourself, dear Asker Of This Question, first and foremost. Drink lots of water, get outside from time to time, stay as healthy as you can, do creative work if you can manage it, hang in there if you can't. Be good to the people immediately around you. Wear warm layers until spring starts to get serious.

Don't completely rely upon me to make social arrangements. If you want to do something with me, ask, and I will tell you whether it's a good time or a good idea or whether we should change the plan or wait until later.

Ask how I'm doing from time to time. Just asking acknowledges that the answer is not completely great right now, and that it fluctuates.

Dark chocolate is often nice.

That's not really all that specific to the Asker of That Question, it turns out. So I thought I'd say it here. For whatever that's worth.
good mris pic

Actually, that's just a Corolla.

One of the happy things I have purchased by not buying a SFWA membership is that I don't have to care when SFWA is once again making a train wreck spectacle of itself. However, I have to confess that I went over to read the comments on Scalzi's entry about the current SFWA presidential candidates, to see for my own personal amusement whether anybody was actually trying to support Andrew Burt.

And in that comment section, I found something curious. Now, fellow eligible non-SFWAns: when we've asked over the last N years why we should join SFWA, what's the first thing everyone says? All together now: The Emergency Medical Fund! When people like matociquala gave up their SFWA memberships, I seem to recall that doing something else in that direction was an important factor

Robin Bailey -- who presumably would know, being a past president -- says in Scalzi's comments that SFWA dues do not support the EMF, that the EMF is funded by voluntary donations and other SFWA income.


Sheila Finch points out that while dues do not go to support the EMF, SFWA is the administering body, and it wouldn't exist in its current form without SFWA. This is true. Also, if Honda and Toyota didn't make a bunch of other cars, they probably wouldn't have gotten to the point of making hybrids at this point. I just feel that people should be clear on whether they are actually purchasing a hybrid or just a randomly selected Toyota.

I don't mean to imply here that anybody who cited the EMF as a reason to join SFWA was intending to mislead prospective members by bringing it up as the first thing. I just wonder how many such people think their own SFWA dues are going to support something that they are not, in fact, going to support. I suspect it's a substantial number. And I do feel like it's best, when someone is asking why they should pay SFWA dues, not to cite something that their SFWA dues categorically will not support.

First PT session

Well, that sucked.

It wasn't that they did anything unusual or unexpected. It's just that you know when they said symptoms might be worse? Ayep. Also the physical therapist revised the estimate of worse-ness from "a couple weeks" to "a month." Freakin' yay.

I'm supposed to do some of the exercises three times a day. Not all of the ones I did in clinic, because I'm not ready for them without trained spotters yet. I am exhausted, dizzy, and overclocked. And the stuff I did was so small.

This is not the hopeless kind of frustration/suckage, so nobody needs to reassure me that sometimes it has to be this way to get better. I know that.

It's also not the "I have the worst life ever" kind of suckage, so I don't need to be reminded on that front, either.

It just...sucked. With more suckage to come! Three times a day in mild form and twice a week in more extreme form! Oh yay!