August 12th, 2009

coffee

blah

So, cassiphone, was right, as always. I attempted to go to bed before midnight last night for the first time in weeks but got caught up reading. It turns out, *surprisingly*, that it's not my attention span that's the problem with me not getting absorbed in books or being able to finish them one at a time. It turns out it's the books I was choosing. And when you pick up a good book, it's actually not that hard to prioritise the time to read it at all. *smacks head*

So I'm still tired. And the one thing that I really really have to do today is finish my selection criteria. I really want to submit my application before I go to Melbourne.

I'm sort of packed too for the trip already - all the TPP books are bubblewrapped and packed. And when you have a Swancon 36 T shirt and a TPP T shirt to wear and the con is two days long ... well I just need a dress for the launch, underpants and a hairbrush and I'm good to go. I feel all jetsettery.

I have a new resolution for cons and that is to go and see one thing in the city I am visiting during the con. It occurs to me that I went to Brisbane and Adelaide this year both for the first time and the whole thing is a blur. In 20 years time I don't want to be saying how I went to all these cool cities for cons but all I saw was the dealers room. So I am going to go and see the Salvador Dali exhibition at the NGV this weekend. Yay! (Melbourne is a cheat cause it's my second home)

boe

Cabinet Bar

I cannot rave enough about the Cabinet Bar, seriously.

I was starting to get really down about how hard organising a launch was from so far away but the Cabinet Bar has been so helpful and kind and contactable.

I'm gonna have more than one giant pink drink there.

shiny&chocolate

More work to do

But it doesn’t take a seer to predict that with more awareness and a more open mind, editors will be less likely to dismiss, even unconsciously, fiction that is good but isn’t only about white heterosexual male concerns.
Creating Better Magazines (And Anthologies)

I've been enjoying K Tempest Bradford's commentary on the diversity of voices in science fiction anthologies. It's made me think a lot about my own habits and tastes as a reader and as an editor. At Twelfth Planet Press we have a reasonably good ratio between male and female writers in our books, leaning towards a much higher female ratio in Shiny, and the novellas lean more towards male. New Ceres Nights has about equal ratio I think and includes stories from a range of cultures and several nonstereotypical gender roles and nonheterosexual characters. This happens not because we have a quota. In fact we aren't even conscious of it when we buy stories. We choose stories using a merit based system.

The reason of course that we come out with better representation whilst using the same apparent merit based approach is obvious. We are already readers who experience life outside of the white heterosexual male world. Our view point is different. Our tastes and interests and concerns are different. What we relate to and are engaged by is different.

But... and here is the big but. I still have a lot of work to do.

When I looked at the table of contents for the Mammoth book, I immediately noticed the lack of female names. What I didn't notice was the lack of POC. And because I'm not going to buy nor read the book (I personally am not enthralled by a book with no stories by women in it - story after story about men gets a bit overpowering) I am not going to have noticed the lack of diversity of sexual orientation, ability or character roles.

I didn't like that I didn't notice. I had a bit of a look round my books at home - books sitting in the to read pile, favourite books in the shelves, stuff in the review pile. And what I noticed is, I read a lot of books written by women and a lot of books by men (I'm a SF reader after all) but I don't read that many books by nonwhite writers. I've read Amy Tan. I've read Maya Angelou. I've read Salman Rushdie. That I can list them says there aren't that many. I read a lot of Jewish authors.

But essentially, I still read what is familiar to me.

And it's not something deliberate. It's not something that I set out to do - not read books written by people who don't look like me. I love books that expose me to new worlds, perspectives, thinkings and experiences. But I tend to read what I fall over. For much of my life I've read out of other people's home libraries. I've not gone looking very far for books, I guess.

What I discovered is that I have more work to do. And the awesome thing about all the discussion that happened around the Mammoth book is - people out there are recommending a ton of great books to read. So actually, I still don't have to go looking very far for books. I just need to become more aware of some of my own habits and the kind of built in failures that exist when not looking beyond your comfort zone. It's easy to get blindsighted.

because this is what puppies are for

When I adopted Benji, in April, he came with no commands and almost no language at all. He was toilet trained and that's most definitely been a plus. He kinda sometimes answered to his name, but only when he felt like it or if he was in the mood to humour me.

He's been being a puppy a bit lately - the only reason he didn't majorly trash my house today is, through ad hoc experience, I am gradually puppy proofing it. Today almost every room was left with the door closed. Though it didn't occur to me (why the hell not?) to move the study paper trash bag from the outside of the door and that got ripped to pieces and spread around the corridor. Ah well, that's easy to clean up.

Just now though, I was playing with him, and in the midst I mentioned the word "treat" and he was up and racing off to the door behind which the treats are stored. And I realised how far we have actually come. He now knows "sit" and he also knows that he has to sit and wait for the ok to eat his dinner. Tonight he didn't but a quick sharp "uh-uh" from me had him cease and desist and quietly sitting to wait for the command. And he knows treats are to be eaten on *his* bed and not *mine*.

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Ain't he cute?! At least no matter how hard the day is, I have that bundle of cute trouble awaiting me at home!